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In the early summer of 2021, Merle fell as she left a department store and shattered her right femur into three pieces. Her break was unusual, as it broke straight up the bone. When she arrived at the hospital doctors said her leg may need to be amputated because of the severity of the fracture. She was then transported to Barnes Hospital where doctors performed a new type of surgery to save her leg. After surgery, she went to an inpatient rehabilitation clinic where she was told she may never walk again.

Merle’s personalized treatment plan with Empower Me therapists involved six weeks of skilled therapy, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy to restore functional mobility, balance, cognitive-communication, and memory.

During those six weeks, Merle’s balance improved from 15/25 high fall risk (Tinetti balance assessment) to 25/28, indicating a complete absence of fall risk. Merle progressed from needing contact guard assistance and a walker for distances of 40ft to walking 1400ft with merely a small-based quad cane. Her cognitive-communication accuracy improved from 50-60% to 80-90% accuracy.

Merle is now more active and thriving in her community. She can go up and down stairs and can go shopping with her family again. She was also able to go to her daughter’s house for the holidays. Merle is very pleased with her progress and loves to tell everyone how much the therapists helped her reach her goals!

Merle was discharged from physical and occupational therapy in December 2021. She continues to work with speech therapy to ensure mastery of memory strategies.

“Therapy has been such a blessing for me. I know I am so close to where I need to be with my memory but just need to get over that hump.”