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Perseverance!

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Magenta Albright, rehab director, COTA/L at Blossom.

I don’t remember anything, nothing,” she said. It was 6 a.m., she looked around and asked the closest nurse, “Where am I?” 
“A hospital in Pittsburgh,” responded the nurse, who asked if she knew what happened. 

Magenta Albright knew only that she had been in a car accident. She was informed that the accident happened at 9 p.m. the night before and she had no memory of the day prior to the accident. 

Her injuries were substantial. She had two broken bones in her leg, broken ribs, broken arm and collar bone, a torn spleen, and brain hemorrhage which explained the memory loss. 

The accident occurred when Magenta was in her early 20s. As she recovered, she did recall very few scenes of the ordeal. “I remember my boyfriend standing above me with his wrapped, injured head. I remember my mother, and being lifted into the helicopter. I was life-flighted. I recall being moved from the gurney to the cat-scan table, and I remember screaming.” 

After a four-day hospital stay, she was sent home to recover. “I had no one to help me. Friends and family had their own responsibilities. It was extremely hard to wrap my head around it,” says Magenta. “I had suddenly gone from being an able-bodied, hard-working person, to now, capable of so little, and I had no idea how I was ever going to heal.” 

Fortunately, she was determined. “For starters – with all my broken bones – I had to navigate up three flights of stairs, figure out how to cook for myself, dress myself; I couldn’t even take a shower, so I had to back into the bath tub. It took weeks to heal.”

Today, armed with seven years of occupational rehab experience, Magenta is head of rehabilitation at Blossom. She, like many other clinicians, found her way into the field of healthcare as a result of being on the receiving end of needed care. Magenta draws from her past trauma and healing experience when relating to patients. She has a unique empathy, understanding and acceptance of their trials. “Whatever challenges our residents are dealing with,” she says. “I understand where they are coming from, whether it is how they are feeling, or their emotions, be it from pain or fatigue. I understand it. Everybody’s pain is their own and everyone is unique.” Magenta coaches her team to do likewise and to really take time to understand their patients; what motivates them, what challenges them, and how to truly help them.  

Immediately when a patient is admitted, we meet with our patient and their family members. The purpose is to discover their needs and come up with a plan to meet their goals. 

 “We recognize therapy is hard work and, yes, we have to do the exercises to build strength, but,” says Magenta, “we try to make it fun. For example, we play cards standing up.”  Why cards one might ask. She explains, “so while, we are playing, our residents are improving balance, endurance, their fine motor skills, arm strength and cognition, and the benefit, they do not focus on the activity because we’re having fun.” She continues, “Sometimes we bake in the kitchen or spend time outdoors.” 

The Blossom property is nuzzled in a picturesque area of Geauga County. “This back yard is a treasure,” she says. “When patients are outdoors they tend to do more, walk farther and willingly devote more time to exercise.” This activity is most valuable because patients are navigating uneven surfaces by going up and down hills. Safety is paramount. “We are extra careful,” says Magenta. “At times two therapists will accompany the patient. We also practice getting in and out of cars,” she adds. This is one of the many functional, anticipated tasks a patient will have mastered upon discharge.    

Magenta says that by making therapeutic activities fun, residents invest in the therapy process. This is especially helpful to ensure a smooth transition when they return home. Our patients are prepared to overcome the barriers that may hinder their transition, which was unlike her transition back to home from the hospital.  

One of our core values, established by the founders of Ohman Family Living, is the value of home. One hundred percent of the patients who come to us want to return to their own homes.  Our clinical teams value our patient’s goals and hence have tailored our approach to help make them a reality. This effort is further enhanced by the Home Assessment whereby our therapists identify barriers to be overcome in order to make a safe transition.  At times our bodies are not in the same place as our will, yet we as a team at Blossom will attempt more than once to make a make safe transition for a patient.  “We encourage patients and families to be flexible, patient and to work with us. Occasionally, we have to engage with a family to redesign the care plan to ensure the patient’s safety.”

 Successes are not always measured by the original plan, but rather by the outcomes that lead to people living flourishing lives.  

Please email me to share your thoughts about the stories we write.  Let us know if there are other topics of interest you would like to read about. Email jwallace@thehillshealthcare.com.  

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