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Shannon Inpatient Rehabilitation

Center helps patients get back to life


is very familiar with the Shan-

non Inpatient Rehabilitation Center. Last year, the then-

-year-old expectant mother spent days on the unit

receiving treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a

disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part

of the peripheral nervous system. e severity of GBS can

increase quickly and, in some cases, cause total paralysis.

“It started with tingling in my hands,” Jenkins recalls.

“As time went on, my hips began to hurt, I had excruciat-

ing back pain, and then it became harder for me to walk.

I went to the doctor a few times, and they attributed the

issues to my pregnancy.”

Jenkins’ back pain was so severe that she was only

sleeping for minutes at a time. e tingling sensation

would not subside.

“It got to a point where I couldn’t put my hair into a

ponytail because my arms would not raise that high,”

she says. “I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t

smile—my lip was drooping.”


ree weeks af-

ter her symptoms started, the time at which percent

of people a ected by GBS are at their weakest, Jenkins

walked into the emergency room, was diagnosed and

admitted. A few days later, she lost her ability to walk.

She spent the next six days in the intensive care unit,

where they monitored her lung function. She underwent

IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) therapy, in which

concentrated antibodies were administered to help boost

her immune system’s response to the syndrome.

“I basically lost all my muscle mass,” she says. “At six

months pregnant, I weighed as much as I did prior to

pregnancy. I missed my son’s second birthday—I was

scared and frustrated.”

She moved to the stroke unit and then to inpatient

rehabilitation, where she would spend the next days

relearning how to sit, stand and walk.

“I started working with Skylar two weeks into her rehab

stay a er returning from my own maternity leave,” says

Regina Hartnett, PT, clinical coordinator for inpatient

rehab. “She could stand in the parallel bars with the as-

sistance of two people li ing her, and that day she took a

few steps for the rst time in a month. ree weeks and

many tedious hours of work later, she was walking up and

down the hallway with a walker. It was such an amazing

experience to watch her physical recovery as she was

simultaneously progressing along with her pregnancy.”

“All of the sta were very knowledgeable,” Jenkins

recalls. “I had told them I wasn’t leaving until I walked.

ey motivated and encouraged me and knew my capa-

bilities. ey even threw me a baby shower.”

A little over a month a er her hospital stay, Jenkins

welcomed her daughter, Autumn, into the world. She is

doing well a er completing outpatient rehabilitation and

has returned to her job as a physical education teacher

at Fannin Elementary.


Along with patients

who have neurological disorders, like Jenkins, the rehab

center also treats patients recovering from stroke, brain

injury, fractured hips and femurs, amputations, polyar-

thritis and rheumatoid arthritis, multiple trauma, cancer,

debilitating conditions resulting in loss of independence

in self-care and mobility, and other common functional


“Since we are a designated Primary Stroke Center,

about percent of our patients are recovering from some

form of a stroke event,” Hartnett says.

Juan Ayala, , is one of those patients. He came to

rehab at Shannon a er having a massive stroke that ren-

dered the le side of his body unusable. Ayala, who has

been a butcher for years, was anxious to return to work

from the moment he arrived for rehabilitation.

“I couldn’t use the le side of my body at all,” Ayala

recalls. “I couldn’t even pick up a pencil with my le

hand. I could stand, but my leg would buckle outward,

so they had to support me while I walked. But they put

me to ‘work’ each morning and encouraged me the whole

time I was there. I really enjoyed my time with them.”

Hartnett says the stroke recovery process varies

from patient to patient and Ayala’s motivation was an

asset to him during his four weeks of rehabilitation.

He underwent three hours of intense therapy—physical

and occupational—every day and was walking with

the help of a walker when he le the unit. Two short

weeks later, he was walking without any assistance. Five

months later, he ful lled his goal and was back behind

the meat counter.

“ ey all did a beautiful job taking care of me,” Ayala

says. “I didn’t want to just lie around a er I had the stroke.

e Bible tells you not to give up—I prayed the Lord would

put me back to work, and he did.”

New home for rehabilitation gets a makeover to work best for patients

This spring, Shannon’s Inpa-

tient Rehabilitation Center

found a new home on the

third floor of the St. John’s

Campus at 2018 Pulliam.

Previously vacant, the

13,000-square-foot unit has

received a full makeover,

from the patient rooms to

the nurses’ station. Each

of the 14 patient rooms is

equipped with a brand-new

bed and furniture, a shower

and a vanity area. And the

staff has made it personal.

“Everyone has had an in-

put on the design and deter-

mined what they think will

work best for the patients,”

says Becky Ragan, pro-

gram director for inpatient

rehabilitation and behav-

ioral services at Shannon.

“The therapy gym is larger,

everything is brand-new, and

the rooms also have more

natural light.”

This inpatient acute

rehabilitation program is

dedicated to helping people

with disabilities attain

optimal independence. The

rehabilitation team provides

24-hour rehabilitation nurs-

ing, physical therapy, oc-

cupational therapy, speech

therapy, case management,

social work and psychology.

“I’m fortunate to assist

in rehabilitating patients

suffering from swallowing,

cognitive and speech diffi-

culties,” says Kimmi Parks,

speech language patholo-

gist. “Inpatient rehab is

by far my favorite setting,

because I belong to a fan-

tastic interdisciplinary team

that enables patients to

finally return home after a

lengthy hospitalization. The

sense of accomplishment

when seeing your patient

walk, talk and eat is truly


The center uses a com-

prehensive, multidisciplinary

approach to therapy and

provides patients with

simulated real-life environ-

ments where they perform

daily activities, such as

navigating the kitchen and

bathroom and getting into

and out of a car. Treatment

is individualized for each

patient. Patients receive

a minimum of 15 hours of

therapy per week.

“Rehabilitation is im-

portant to continued care,”

Ragan says. “The goal is to

maintain the stamina of care,

bring the patient back into

the community in a short

amount of time, and reduce

the burden of care for them

and their loved ones.”

Last year the center had

151 patients, 72 of whom

had experienced a stroke.

The average length of stay

for those patients was

17.5 days.

Patients and their family

members are actively in-

volved in establishing goals,

participating in therapy

and planning for life after

discharge. The percentage

of patients discharged from

rehabilitation at Shannon

back to their home is 84,

compared to the national

average of 76 percent.

A referral to the Inpa-

tient Rehabilitation Center

may be made by a physi-

cian, insurance provider,

family member, patient or

other concerned party. Pre-

admission evaluations are

provided at no charge to

determine a patient’s eligi-

bility for admission to the


If you think Shannon’s

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Center might benefit you

or someone you know or

if you’d like to learn more,

please call



or visit



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