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Daniel’s Story: Recovering from COVID-19

Daniel Velez

When Daniel Velez arrived at Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital of The Vintage, he couldn’t walk and was almost completely dependent upon his caregivers. He even needed assistance eating. Toward the end of February 2021, Daniel contracted COVID-19. His symptoms quickly progressed, eventually developing into double pneumonia. He was admitted to the acute care hospital on Feb. 28, 2021. He was in the ICU for more than 20 days before he was moved to a lower level of care for about two weeks. Then he went into a coma for an additional 20 plus days after that.

At age 55, the virus and extended hospital stay left Daniel unable to complete even the simplest of tasks. Daniel arrived at Encompass Health The Vintage an April 5, more than two months after he contracted COVID-19. His goals for rehabilitation were simple—he wanted to work and provide for his family again.“He was not safe to even sit up,” said therapist Kristin Elliott of Daniel’s condition when he arrived at the rehabilitation hospital. “Every day he gave it his all and remained focused on his goals and recovery to return home and live a fulfilled life again.” His therapy team worked with him three hours a day, five days a week to help him build back his strength and coordination, so he could get back to those activities that mattered most to him.

After less than two weeks at Encompass Health The Vintage, Daniel was able to walk with the assistance of a walker and could once again care for himself and complete everyday tasks unassisted. “As a therapy team, we were able to guide him in this process and witness him progress to a point he was able to get up on his own using a walker without the need for physical assistance from others,” Elliott said. “He was able to manage most of his self-care on his own by the time he discharged home.”