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Published on May 05, 2014

Recovering from a stroke with Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital

Mercy Fitzgerald can help you and your loved ones survive stroke.

Recovering from a Stroke with Mercy FitzgeraldIn early January, Agnes Dickinson told her granddaughter, whom she lives with in Glenolden, that she felt like she was getting a cold and went to lie down. “She slept all the next day, but we didn’t think it was abnormal—she’s 91, after all,” says her granddaughter, Christina Coker, who also happens to be a cardiac monitor technician at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. But then Christina walked into her room to check on her, and noticed Agnes’ speech was slurred.

She suspected a stroke immediately, and rushed her grandmother to the Emergency Department at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.

“They admitted her right away. We knew within an hour of arrival she’d had a stroke,” says Christina. “I’m so glad we went to the hospital right away—I knew something was wrong.”

Agnes spent 5 days in the stroke unit, and then 11 more in acute rehab. “She worked with many different therapists, but physically she was fine; it was really her speech that was affected,” recalls Christina. “For speech therapy, they had her mimic words, practice names and memorization. They worked with her so much, and I saw so much improvement.” Today, Agnes is back at home, surrounded by the family she loves. Her speech is still limited, but according to Christina, it’s improved “100 times over.”

“She’s come a long way since she was discharged—you can understand her a lot more than before,” she says. It helps that Agnes continues to get visits from a speech therapist provided by Mercy Home Health. The speech therapist comes to the home and works with Agnes twice a week.

“The speech therapist is wonderful—that has definitely made a difference,” says Christina. “Agnes is definitely taking advantage of Mercy’s support services,” says Kathy Atwell, RN, MS, stroke coordinator at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. “But we are not just there for the patient; we are there for the whole family. After all, if the caregiver is not in a good frame of mind, the patient won’t be, either.”

Christina and her husband had to adjust their busy work schedules to accommodate Agnes’ needs. But the family wouldn’t have it any other way. “Having the opportunity to be her caretaker instead of losing her is the best opportunity God could have given to me,” says Christina. “She’s here and that’s what means the most to us. She’s the rock of our family.”

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