Willie Ward with David Stoltz, occupational therapist assistant, and Melanie Bernarte, physical therapist

After being treated in the hospital for atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, Willie Ward needed to undergo rehabilitation before he could return home.


On July 14, 2015, Ward came to Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs, Florida, for physical, occupational and speech therapies. When he arrived, he needed two people to help him sit up or get from the bed into a chair, and he was unable to walk. Six days a week, he worked with his therapists to regain strength and improve his CHF.


In physical and occupational therapy, Ward did a variety of exercises to get his strength, stamina and balance back, and he learned ways to conserve energy while completing basic daily tasks like grooming and getting dressed. Therapists also used electrical stimulation to strengthen his legs.


Slowly, Ward was able to get out of bed on his own, sit and stand and begin walking. Therapists worked with him to get back into a good walking gait.


Speech therapy, meanwhile, taught Ward strategies to improve his memory and build his problem-solving skills, which helped him reduce his risk of falling and remember important health information like doctors’ appointments.


“The staff took great care of me!” said Ward. “The staff and rehab team were very encouraging in helping me achieve my goals. Everyone knew me and was always supportive.”


On Sept. 29, Ward was able to return home to his wife and switch his therapy to three times a week as an outpatient.


“He showed good progress and achieved the set goals because of his willingness to get better,” said Melanie Bernarte, physical therapist.


When Ward graduated from therapy on Dec. 7, he was able to walk 125 feet and required very little help to take care of himself.


“Therapy helped to give me strength and confidence to walk and return home,” said Ward.


For more information about rehab services at Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs, call (407) 260-4040.