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Kathleen Cassidy lived independently in her home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, when an infection caused her body to weaken and require rehabilitation.


When she arrived at Life Care Center of Hilton Head on June 29, 2017, Cassidy had a high fall risk. She was unable to get up or down four standard stairs with a handrail, which she needed to be able to do to get in and out of her home. She did not have the strength to walk very far, which she would also need to do at home.


With returning to her independent lifestyle as the goal, Cassidy worked with the physical therapy team to increase her strength, mobility and balance, and with the occupational therapy team to restore her ability to take care of herself with things like bathing and grooming.


Therapists used gentle electric stimulation to reeducate Cassidy’s brain on movement and diathermy for pain management. They also had her use the Omnicycle and NuStep® exercise machines to strengthen her upper and lower body, and she practiced going up and down stairs.


“Kathleen is committed, a hard worker and willing to go the extra mile,” said Scott Vaigneur, physical therapist assistant.


For her part, Cassidy shared her success to recovery: “Try your best, with a smile.”


Cassidy returned home on Oct. 5, able to handle the stairs to her house and walk 225 feet at a time with a rollator walker. Her balance had improved to a lower fall risk, and she was able to take care of herself with supervision.