Lisa Reynolds, physical therapist assistant, with Florence Prothman

A compression fracture in her lumbar vertebrae led Florence Prothman to seek rehabilitation at Life Care Center of Banner Elk, North Carolina.


“When I got here, I was in excruciating pain,” Prothman remembered. “I have never had that kind of pain! Now I have no pain.”


The path to recovery took some time and hard work. Prothman couldn’t stand up at all when she arrived on March 8, 2018, let alone walk, bathe herself or get from her bed to a chair. She needed extensive assistance with hygiene and getting dressed as well.


“Initially, we did a lot of education on how to protect her back from pain,” said Elizabeth Goode, director of rehab services. “We did core tightening, log roll, compensatory techniques. She also used a back brace, which she still uses, but not as much.”


Prothman took part in physical therapy seven days a week. The PT team started out working with her on bed mobility and strength, as well as posture and body mechanics. Slowly, she improved to where she could sit up, then practice standing and walking.


Speech therapists worked with Prothman for two weeks to help regain her cognition and communication abilities, which had been impacted by her condition.


Occupational therapists met with Prothman five days a week and worked on daily self-care tasks and activities, including cooking. They used exercises to strengthen her upper body and trained her in new techniques and the use of a reacher. They also did a home safety evaluation.


“Now I can get out of bed and walk with no pain,” said Prothman. “Everyone is courteous and thoughtful.”


Prothman is independent in her wheelchair mobility and sitting balance, as well as her grooming and self-feeding abilities. She requires supervision for walking and most of her standing mobility and daily tasks, and she returned home on May 31 with home health care.