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Nursing and therapy at Life Care Center of Wichita, Kansas, made a tremendous difference for Howard Gaskin.


Gaskin came to the facility on Sept. 25, 2018, with congestive heart failure, an acute kidney injury, diabetes and swelling in his legs and feet.


“He required close collaboration between the team of medical personnel and the therapists,” said Natalie Merten, director of rehab services. “He required an altered diet initially due to a swallow dysfunction, and with both his CHF and acute kidney injury, his amount of intake was critical to his success. The medical director and nurse practitioners worked closely with the nurses and therapy as they monitored his labs, blood sugars and physical advancements.”


At first, Gaskin needed moderate assistance with most of his mobility tasks and self-care skills, as well as his cognition.


Speech therapists, for their part, helped Gaskin with information processing and swallowing, using the Masako swallowing technique. They helped him with medication management as well.


Physical therapists used the SciFit stepper machine to help Gaskin with his cardiopulmonary response to activity. They used the BORG rate of perceived exertion to help him judge the level of activity he could handle. They had him practice standing up from sitting to strengthen his legs and hips, and stair training also helped him strengthen his lower body and improve his foot clearance.


Meanwhile, the occupational therapy team trained Gaskin in the motions he needed for daily activities, increasing his range of motion and balance.


Gaskin made excellent progress and met his goal of walking again. He is now independent in his mobility, swallowing, cognition and grooming tasks and only needs supervision in the areas of bathing and getting dressed. He completed therapy on Nov. 2 and returned home with home health.


“My stay here was very good,” said Gaskin. “They helped me to walk and be independent.”


“We will remain in touch with Mr. Gaskin and his home health agency in order to ensure continued success,” said Merten.