Left to Right: Hailey Ruder, PTA; Julie Miller, director of rehabilitation, and Teasha Choitz, OTA.
In October 2016, Sterling Presbyterian Manor welcomed an addition to the community in the form of five feisty and fit females who are keeping their residents on their toes. The team includes Physical Therapy Assistant Hailey Ruder, Occupational Therapy Assistant Teasha Choitz, Physical Therapist Patty, Occupational Therapist Cathy, and Speech Therapist Allison. While the three therapists travel to different communities, assistants Hailey and Teasha work solely at the Sterling community.
Hailey took time to tell us about her experience over these first seven months.
As our physical therapy assistant, Hailey enjoys helping residents work on their balance, maneuvering obstacles, and community integration outside on nice days. “The community feel is the best thing about being here. Everyone knows everyone. Staff encourages the residents. Residents encourage each other,” she said. “We can be walking down the hall and the client we are working with will get cheers of ‘good job,’ ‘looking good’ and ‘way to go’ from other residents.
“This is a small town, and many grew up together, and you can feel it in the tight-knit atmosphere. Often when we have multiple residents in the therapy room, they will carry on conversations about the past. Listening to their stories and seeing their friendships with one another just makes your heart smile.”
Hailey’s proudest moments have come from watching someone advance from needing a lot of help to being able to go home and be successful in the community again. “One resident who has progressed enough to go back home now is working out at the Wellness Center weekly, determined to keep himself moving. Another who moved in shortly after we started was unable to stand. We worked with him for two months and watched him leave here and go home to his wife able to complete all his transfers by himself and able to walk 10 to 15 feet. I felt even more proud of him and personally blessed when he told me that he hadn’t walked any in two years, and he thanked us for adding some quality back to his life.”
The community atmosphere sets Sterling Manor apart from other facilities, Hailey said. “We are able to build better relationships with the residents because we learn so much about their lives from hearing them open up to their friends. Teasha and I specifically get the opportunity to build better relationships with them since we are based out of Sterling Manor and they know us personally as well. They know what to expect with us and that makes them feel better and less anxious about therapies.”
For example, one resident was opposed to using a walker when she began therapy, although she really needed one to stay safe. “
Once we were around enough to be a familiar face, and after seeing her friends be successful with us, she finally gave in and is buzzing around with her walker looking steady and safe and having cheers from others when she passes them in the hall,” Hailey said.
“Outside of therapy, I think Sterling Manor sets itself apart with their concentration on resident-centered care. The eating accommodations here are unlike any I have seen. The walk to dine, the various dining locations, the adaptability to meet the desires of the resident to eat where and with whom they want are incredible and I believe keep them happy, which helps them perform better throughout their day.”
The Aegis team tries to maintain and support a consistent 50 percent of the Presbyterian Manor population at all times. They are active in resident care planning, keeping up with residents even after they have left therapy, and screening residents as needed to keep them active and strong, and continuing on regular fitness routines.