Patient Stories

Sondra Bugg

Recovery Close to Home with TMH Swing Bed Program

After fracturing her pelvis and arm, 77-year-old Sondra sought options for rehabilitation and physical therapy. The TMH Turn the Corner swing bed program, only six miles from her rural home, was exactly the right fit.

You have to know that you can do this.

Retired English teacher Sondra Bugg will tell you that she’s had a few health issues in her 77 years—but she’s quick to add that nothing has slowed her down for long.

The most recent proof of her resilience came in the spring of 2017, when Sondra and her husband, Jim, met their eldest son for dinner in Decatur. As she walked toward the door of the restaurant, she stumbled and fell on the curb.

“I was flat on the cement,” she recalled. “I couldn’t move.”

At the hospital, she learned her pelvis was fractured in two places and her left arm broken, in addition to other, less serious scrapes and bruises.

Before her release from the hospital, she and Jim began looking at options for rehabilitation and physical therapy. They ultimately chose the Turn the Corner swing bed program at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, only six miles from their rural home.

Turn the Corner transitions patients from acute care at any hospital, with a scope of services tailored to individual needs. Patients heal in a skilled care environment, benefiting from hospital resources like access to lab facilities and X-rays, as well as a low nurse-to-patient ratio.

Patients come to the program with a variety of issues, recovering from conditions as diverse as pneumonia, stroke, surgical procedures or falls. “Every treatment plan is individual to the patient,” said Becky Erlenbush, manager of Care Management at TMH.

Sondra spent two weeks at TMH recuperating and undergoing physical therapy. She said the process wasn’t always easy, but her therapists made it as comfortable as possible. With their help, she learned how to use a cane and practiced by walking up and down the halls. One of those therapists, Jared Burns, encouraged her to push herself in her exercises and walk a little farther each day. 

“I felt safe with him,” she said. “By the last time I worked with him, I was able to walk 3,000 steps.”

Since leaving TMH, Sondra has returned to her normal routine. She can climb the steps up to her home using a railing installed after her accident, and she even baked a pineapple upside-down cake while her arm was still in a sling. She’ll continue outpatient therapy as her arm heals.

Her advice for other patients undergoing physical therapy is simple: Just keep going. Although it can be painful, and progress can be slow at times, “you have to know that you can do this,” she said.

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