A small restorative care team at The Village of Sandalwood Park takes time on a regular basis to review stats on each resident’s health, eager to highlight those who have the potential to benefit from the restorative care program.
In the fall of 2017, a fairly new resident named Frank Porter came to the team’s attention. Not long before he’d begun to use a wheelchair and a transfer program to help him gain more strength and control over the transfer process to and from his chair seemed to make the most sense for Frank.
“We wanted to try and maintain his abilities as much as possible,” says neighbourhood coordinator Bobi-Jo Heslip, part of the four-person restorative team. “He’s pretty active and his cognition is good so we wanted to help keep him as physical as possible.”
“We decided we would start small,” she adds, and he proved to be a prime example of what happens when a determined resident works alongside a collaborative, dedicated team. He’d been on the program for but a few months when one day, after the slow build up of strength had taken root, Frank simply stood up and began walking.
“It felt very good,” Frank says, noting that he was never really that good at maneuvering his wheelchair. Walking again was always his goal.
He admits, however, that when he moved into the village the last thing he expected was a team of people eager to help him achieve his goals. That doubt didn’t stop him from connecting with the team to let them know what his goals were, and their efforts fell in line with his. He says he’s grateful to have them by his side.
“It’s feels great,” to see Frank walking again, Bobi-Jo says. “It just shows how the collaboration of the different teams comes together to be successful and help someone do the things they want to do.”
Bobi-Jo encourages all villages to explore all the restorative care opportunities that are available. Like any new project, a little extra effort is required to get things rolling and the restorative care funding is tied to outcomes, so documentation is critical, but it’s worth the effort and people need to see that.
“When you see the benefits, it’s worth all the energy and all the effort that goes into it,” Bobi-Jo says. “Seeing Frank not in his wheelchair and being able to go out and walk around and go out to the different levels of the village, it’s rewarding in itself.”
Frank says he intends to keep working hard to maintain his strength, simply by walking longer and farther every day. “There’s no comparison between using a wheelchair and a walker,” he says. “It’s an entirely different life.”
As for advice to other residents who are considering restorative care?
“Keep at it,” Frank says. “It helps and now I do as much walking around here as one could. My whole objective is to help my legs and the rest of my body get strong enough so I can park the walker as well.”