By Randee O’Brien, director of rehab
Oscar Ramirez came to Bridgeview Estates in Twin Falls, Idaho, for long-term care on May 7, 2019.
Ramirez had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and needed caregivers. He participated in physical, occupational and speech therapies to improve his ability to get in and out of bed, stand up, balance, walk and eat. He was also having difficulty communicating with his new caregivers; speech therapy assisted him with developing an effective mode of communication using an augmentative and alternative communication device.
In June and July, Ramirez discharged from all therapies and transitioned to a restorative nursing program six times a week to maintain the gains he made in therapy.
In late August, Ramirez expressed an interest in a power wheelchair to improve his mobility. He worked with occupational therapy for three months learning how to manage a power wheelchair really well.
Therapists initiated the process to get Ramirez a power wheelchair through his insurance. However, in the meantime, they also contacted the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Boise. The MDA helps provide equipment to patients with mobility deficits, with a physician order.
The organization worked hard to provide him with a power wheelchair that was repaired, appropriate for Ramirez’s diagnosis and fit him. It took a few months of coordinating, but on Dec. 11, his power wheelchair was delivered to Bridgeview Estates.
The staff was informed of the wheelchair’s arrival, but Ramirez did not know he was getting one. After lunch, associates gathered in the therapy gym, where the power wheelchair had been decorated with a big red bow for him.
Ramirez entered the therapy gym, and a huge smile of joy spread across his face when he saw the power wheelchair. Therapists assisted him from his manual wheelchair to the new equipment.
Upon sitting down, Ramirez turned the power wheelchair on and was off to cruise the halls. He is now able to use the power chair for the rest of his life. He is continuing to work with occupational therapy to improve his power wheelchair mobility skills.