Dennise's story

patient success stories - medically complex - Dennise Baker

Dennise Baker had always been content living alone in Alabama. It wasn’t until January 2019 that she realized living alone can have its drawbacks. After developing the flu and pneumonia, she was admitted to her local hospital.

Later, she transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Alabama. However, Dennise developed a large wound from being bedridden. It took several months for the facility to get the wound under control and she was able to be released.

By this point, Dennise knew she needed family by her side. She came to Pennsylvania to visit her sister, who works for a local hospital. Dennise’s sister, concerned about the size of Dennise’s wound, helped her see a doctor. On May 16, Dennise underwent surgery to help it heal and prevent infection, then went home.

A few days later, Dennise realized something was not right. She began experiencing severe abdominal pain. Doctors discovered inflammation. After treating it, they transferred her to Helen M. Simpson Rehabilitation Hospital for ongoing therapy and recovery.

When Dennise arrived, she required assistance for every aspect of her self-care. She could not dress herself, walk or move from her bed to a chair. Our care team created a plan to help Dennise regain her independence.

Physical therapists helped her through exercises designed to rebuild muscle strength. Occupational therapists began practicing daily activities such as dressing. Over time, Dennise got stronger. Dennise also experienced foot drop, which prevents the ankle from moving upward toward the body. Instead of wearing a heavy boot, as she had been doing, doctors suggested Dennise be fitted for an Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO). This assistive device fits into a shoe and holds the foot in its proper position.

Occupational and physical therapists spent at least three hours a day helping Denise exercise and move through activities of daily living, which built endurance.

Dennise left our hospital doing everything independently. From getting dressed to walking as far as 136 feet outside the hospital with her walker and brace, Dennise was able to do it all on her own.

Dennise departed for her sister’s home. She looks back on her time at Helen M. Simpson with gratitude and a positivity. She said, “Other rehabs do not compare. Anyone who comes here is blessed. I can’t say enough good things about this place and these people. This place has turned my world around.”