September 30, 2022
5 minutes read

Merle's Story: Walking Again in 6 Weeks with Skilled Therapy

After a severe fracture from a fall that resulted in surgery, Merle experienced an abrupt decline in her quality of life and function with ADLs, memory, and functional mobility. There was a chance that she would never walk again.

Senior living community member, Merle walking again with 6 weeks of skilled therapy.

After a severe fracture from a fall that resulted in surgery, Merle experienced an abrupt decline in her quality of life and function with activities of daily living (ADLs) memory, and functional mobility. There was a chance that she would never walk again.

In the early summer of 2021, Merle fell as she left a department store and shattered her right femur into three pieces. Her break was unusual, as it broke straight up the bone. When she arrived at the hospital doctors said her leg may need to be amputated because of the severity of the fracture. She was then transported to Barnes Hospital where doctors performed a new type of surgery to save her leg. After surgery, she went to an inpatient rehabilitation clinic where she was told she may never walk again.


After completing inpatient treatment in August 2021, Merle moved to a senior living community in Shiloh, IL. She immediately started working with the EmpowerMe Wellness therapy team, and in a matter of weeks, thanks to her determination and a customized skilled therapy program, went from being in a wheelchair to walking with a cane. She now dresses herself and is working on her memory through speech therapy. She is very proud of how far she has come, and the EmpowerMe team is proud of her as well!

Merle’s personalized treatment plan with Empower Me therapists involved six weeks of skilled therapy, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy to restore functional mobility, balance, cognitive-communication, and memory.

During those six weeks, Merle’s balance improved from 15/25 high fall risk (Tinetti balance assessment) to 25/28, indicating a complete absence of fall risk. Merle progressed from needing contact guard assistance and a walker for distances of 40ft to walking 1400ft with merely a small-based quad cane. Her cognitive-communication accuracy improved from 50-60% to 80-90% accuracy.

Merle is now more active and thriving in her community. She can go up and down stairs and can go shopping with her family again. She was also able to go to her daughter’s house for the holidays. Merle is very pleased with her progress and loves to tell everyone how much the therapists helped her reach her goals!

Merle was discharged from physical and occupational therapy in December 2021. She continues to work with speech therapy to ensure mastery of memory strategies.

“Therapy has been such a blessing for me. I know I am so close to where I need to be with my memory but just need to get over that hump.”

Six weeks of skilled therapy
Barthel Index of Activities of Daily living score improvement from 60 to 85 points, moving from requiring moderate caregiver dependency to mild caregiver dependency within six weeks!
Cognitive-Communication Accuracy improvement from 50-60% accuracy to 80-90%.