Patients Name: Mrs. Earlene Claiborne
Patients Age: 83
Admission Date: 8/18/2017
Admitted From: Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Discharge Date: 11/20/2017
Discharged To: Home Health Care visitations every week
Length of Stay: 3 months
Reason for Stay: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), high blood pressure and a history of blood clots
How did this patient hear about Quality Center for Rehabilitation & Healing? Transfer from Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Details of Experience:

On August 18th, 2017, Mrs. Earlene Claiborne age 83, of Lafayette, TN, was admitted to Quality Center for Rehabilitation and Healing from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville,TN. After just having extensive surgery on her mouth earlier in August for oral cancer, Mrs. Claiborne also had other health issues such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), high blood pressure and a history of blood clots. Due to her delicate condition, she was placed on a Trach (tracheostomy) for breathing and a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) for receiving nutrition through a tube.

When she arrived, she was quickly evaluated by our team of professional therapists. She was then teamed up with one of our outstanding speech therapists, Paulette Dobbins.

Mrs. Claiborne’s journey began slowly. She had several obstacles to overcome.The first challenge was breathing and swallowing without the Trach. Another challenge was that she also had to adjust to having a “flap” that was uniquely made from tissue from her shoulder to help form a cover in her mouth where most of her tongue used to be. With this came a change in appearance and she also experienced unwanted side effects such as excess saliva or “drooling”. This was a challenge that needed to be overcome to prevent aspiration or choking when trying to breath. Sitting straight up and drinking liquids through a straw were just a couple of the many techniques used to help her meet this challenge. Once this was achieved, more goals were set such as speech/communication, language, voice, auditory processing, swallowing, dysfunction and function for feeding. Interventions used in these skills were: swallows to aid in clearing the throat, short term memory exercises to recall new tasks and new information and pacing techniques or (breaking up syllables) to control rate and increase speech precision.

With a lot of encouragement from our staff, therapists, her husband and family, by mid-October she was tolerating liquids through a straw and select pureed food by a small spoon. Her speech had improved significantly to being able to articulate multi-syllabic words and phrases with using increased volume and over articulation and breath support in order to communicate basic needs and wants.

At the beginning of November, Mrs. Claiborne suffered a setback when she contracted pneumonia, but with the support from our incredible medical staff including that of our nurses and techs, she quickly recovered and continued to progress with her therapy and treatment plan.

With much hard work and determination, Mrs. Claiborne was able to reach maximum potential with her skills and demonstrate her ability to consume the highest amount of intake with the least amount of assistance, facilitate improved functional abilities and independence including swallowing, breathing, communicating with controlled speech, coughing, and clearing of throat. While she still needs the PEG tube to supplement with nutrition, she is able to pleasure feed and drink without assistance as much as she wants. (Ice Cream has been a favorite!)

On November 20th, Mrs. Claiborne was released and was able to head back home with Home Health Care visitations every week to ensure her independence is not hindered and her nutrition level is still balanced. We here at Quality Center would like to wish Mrs. Claiborne the best of luck for the upcoming New Year!