Going Strong and Living Life

Transition ProgramDiana grew up working the family nursery where hard work was commonplace and seeking medical care was rare. When Diana became unable to walk any distance without stopping and her breathing becoming labored, she knew it was time to get help.

"My health worsened over three years, so I couldn't do many of the things I had done in the past," she says. "I knew the time had come."

In spring 2012, Diana underwent a hysterectomy, but she remained weak with little muscle tone.

Doctors prescribed different levels of physical therapy to help Diana regain her strength and endurance. By the time she completed North Kansas City hospital's outpatient therapy program, she was without a walker or cane, her previous companions. But she knew more work remained to be done to improve her balance and muscle strength.

Like most people, Diana, age 66, needs motivation to exercise.

"Some people can go to the gym to work out on their own, but I knew that wasn't for me," she says.

Diana was one of the first participants in the transition program between physical and occupational therapists in the hospital's Rehab Services Department and personal trainers in the hospital's Fitness Center.

Her physical therapy assistant identified Diana's need to continue exercising after completing physical therapy. He escorted her to the Fitness Center, where they collaborated with a personal trainer. He communicated Diana's medical history, exercise status, precautions and recommendations to the trainer, then helped orient Diana to the equipment to ensure a smooth transition.

As a result, Diana worked with the personal trainer to improve her balance and make her more comfortable walking, especially with stairs. She has gone from someone who couldn't walk, to carrying her own groceries, including a 35-pound bag of dog food. She also has met her goal of returning to her job helping seniors at the Shepherd's Center of the Northland.

Transition Program_Diana