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HCA Midwest Health

Mary Routh

LRHC's swing bed program helps Mary Routh recover from COVID complications.

October 09, 2023
Mary Routh smiles while sitting in front of her fireplace.

Mary Routh was preparing to welcome her husband, Bob, home after recovering from COVID-19 at Lafayette Regional Health Center (LHRC).

“The day he came home, I went in to the hospital,” Mary says.

Mary was experiencing flu-like symptoms and had trouble breathing.

“I remember my daughter telling me to check my oxygen levels,” Mary said. “She said if my levels were below 80 that I should go to the hospital. My levels were in the low 70’s. I barely made it to the ER before I couldn’t breathe on my own.”

Mary, 72, was diagnosed with COVID and pneumonia and spent time in the hospital’s COVID unit.

“I worked frequently with Mary and witnessed Paula, Mary’s daughter, in the hallway,” said Malissa Florez, Director of Rehabilitation Services with LHRC. “She was in tears because the prognosis looked poor for Mary. At that point, they were unsure Mary would even come out of the hospital.”

“I was scared,” Mary said. “I was scared I would never be off oxygen or be able to go home and be with Bob.”

“Like many of our patients, Mary loves her family and she was terrified she would never spend another day with her beautiful grandchildren,” says Florez.

Florez says everything Mary did was a struggle.

“Things we take for granted, like getting out of bed, walking, showering, and getting dressed. Suddenly, the aspects of life that are just part of one’s routine were not routine at all, and she was navigating how to become herself again or accept this as the new normal,” Florez says.

Mary was able to move to the hospital’s rehabilitation and swing bed program. Swing bed helps patients bypass the need to go to a skilled nursing facility and provides patients with a level of care that focuses on enhancing a patient’s strength, mobility and confidence so they can safely transition home.

“Most patients recover better if they’re close to home, seeing family members every day,” says Kristi Tressler, Director of Nursing with LHRC. “Patients like Mary, who are in the hospital after an illness or surgery or injury, get a continuity of care, seeing the same doctors and nurses every day. It also prevents readmission into the hospital because patients are able to stay longer and recover better.”

Swing bed allowed Mary the recovery time she needed to be herself again.

“If I would have been moved to a skilled nursing facility, I do not think I would have recovered as well and as fast,” Mary says. “My family was able to see me almost every day. Pastor Terry visited me every day in the hospital and prayed with me. He reminded me often that God has the power to heal. I believe having these familiar faces was instrumental in the healing process. Also, the team was extremely patient with me and encouraged me with every aspect of my healing.”

After five weeks in the hospital, Mary was able to go home. She continued her journey of therapy all the way through treatments at LHRC’s outpatient clinic.

Today, Mary enjoys life as she did before her diagnosis. She is grateful for the care she received from nurses, physicians, therapy, respiratory and all other ancillary services that helped her regain the life she thought she was losing.

“I am home with Bob and off oxygen,” Mary says. “I was not expected to be able to come off oxygen. The rehab team has much to do with me getting my life back. Before COVID, I was very active in my church. I have built strong bonds with several of the people in my church community, and I am grateful I am able to continue to volunteer.”

October 09, 2023
Lafayette Regional Health Center