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Home > Medical Services > Rehabilitation > Inpatient Rehabilitation > Patient Stories > Mercy Rehabilitation – For the Body & Heart
Through every heartbreak and life-altering event, Judy Zaruba knew Mercy would be there for her — medically and emotionally.
Judy’s first encounter with Mercy derives from her childhood. Her mother would regularly take Judy and her brothers to Mercy whenever they needed medical help; it became a pattern Judy continued to choose when she had her own children.
Judy and her husband, Jerry, were blessed with five children — Jerry, JoLynn, Jamie, Justa and Josh — all of whom were born at Mercy and treated here while growing up. Judy “doesn’t know why anyone would go anywhere else” for healthcare.
“It’s always been our hospital,” Judy said. “Mercy has always been our home.”
Like a warm household environment, Mercy has also supported Judy as she encountered her own health problems. Here, she has recovered from a stroke; had two knee replacements, stomach surgery for a bleeding ulcer and back surgery; has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; and treated for a broken ankle. Judy jokes that she’s the “bionic woman.” However, her most recent encounter introduced her to yet another department at Mercy.
After Judy accidentally fell down a few stairs in her home, Jerry realized she needed to go to the hospital immediately, so he called 911.
During her three weeks at Mercy, Judy required surgery on her ankle — two screws and a plate were placed in her ankle, which was broken in three places — and received therapy in the newly remodeled Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (IRU); Judy received physical and occupational therapy for her ankle as well as speech therapy due to the stroke she had years ago.
“Being up here on this floor [IRU]...I haven’t seen anything like it,” Judy said. “Throughout the years, I’ve seen the changes [in the hospital], and it amazes me.”
The IRU now welcomes patients with a rainbow of colors to complement the natural light that floods in through the large windows. It’s a perfect place not only to help patients rehabilitate, but also to uplift their spirits.
The IRU also works to make a patient’s stay as comfortable as possible. And, with room service, a new dining room and state-of-the-art private patient rooms, patients can comfortably focus on recovery.
“The team up on this floor [IRU] just really has it together,” Judy said. “Each nurse I’ve had, occupational or physical, just everyone is wonderful.”
Mercy’s award-winning interdisciplinary rehabilitation team consists of specialized physicians, rehabilitation certified nurses, therapists, dietitians and social workers who create individual recovery plans and consults with each patient.
As a part of Judy’s rehabilitation plan, she worked with physical, occupational and speech therapists who created specialized exercises to help Judy recover.
Judy, in particular, has worked with physical therapists on upper arm and leg strengthening to improve her mobility. In the new IRU’s physical therapy gym — which is a focal point of the unit — patients like Judy can begin rehabilitation in a safe and controlled environment. The space also includes the most advanced technology, including the ZeroG gravity system that helps patients as they try to balance when walking or climbing stairs; the BioDeck computerized balance system that can screen for fall risks to help physical therapists design a training program for patients; and the Rehab Tracker which is a mobile device that allows patients to see and track their goals in real time.
Down the hall from the gym is the private occupational room. Here, Judy practiced standing balance to assist with daily tasks and mobility to get from one point of her home to another. There is also a Wii gaming system to help patients with visual motor reaction time and range of motion; Dynavision — an electric wall board that exercises patients’ visual, cognitive and motor functions; and artificial grocery items to help patients prepare to return to their daily home routines.
In addition to her strength and mobility, Judy also worked with speech therapists to improve her speech clarity and comprehension.
And, even after her hospitalization for her broken ankle, Judy continued her physical, occupational and speech therapy with in-home care through Mercy. The Mercy Touch® continued after she left the hospital; Judy noted every therapist she worked with at her home was very kind.
In addition to her husband, Jerry, her four-legged babies — Jake, Karmyne and Tommy — also provided her therapy by keeping her company while her ankle successfully recovered.