Employees in the rehabilitation field work with people who have experienced traumatic events everyday, but many never think they would themselves be the patient. This was true for Julie Jordan, a well-known physical therapist in the community and a staff member at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital.
On the morning of June 20, 2014, Julie was riding her bike to work when she was hit by a garbage truck. She sustained multiple fractures, internal injuries and an amputation of her right leg at the knee. Julie’s femoral artery was severed and was bleeding profusely, but thankfully, an off-duty fireman came to the scene and made a tourniquet out of her bike tube, saving her life.
Julie spent ten days in an acute care hospital where, in addition to her amputation, her spleen was removed, on top of numerous fractures, her kidney and bowel were repaired. After ten days, she was transferred to HealthSouth. “I’ve worked there as a physical therapist,” Julie says. “And I know from professional experience that it’s an excellent rehabilitation hospital with a top-notch staff.”
HealthSouth uses advanced technologies designed to support patients reach maximum independence. “The staff at HealthSouth is experienced and compassionate, providing complete care to their patients,” Julie says. “They work toward their patients’ individual goals using advanced technologies, with a clear commitment to restoring function in a meaningful way.”
“When I arrived at HealthSouth, I was greeted by friends and coworkers,” Julie describes. “The entire staff was welcoming and treated me with respect.”
At first, Julie could not accomplish everyday tasks and could only walk short distances with a walker. She was eager to begin her recovery, but humbled by her deconditioning. Her care was specific to her needs and goals; not too easy and not too hard. Julie was glad to work at her own pace. “They challenged me. My physical therapist was always positive and encouraging,” Julie says. “She gave me a lot of feedback and always had a smile.”
Julie’s occupational therapist helped her with mobility so she could gain independence quickly and return home with confidence. Her biggest fear was falling, and she was nervous about progressing from using a walker to forearm crutches. But, her rehabilitation team encouraged her to take the next step and she overcame her fears. During her 13 days at HealthSouth, Julie had support from her family and rehabilitation team who individualized her care to meet her goals. When she left HealthSouth, she walked independently using only a walker. She could care for herself, shower and get ready for the day without any assistance.
Today, Julie attends outpatient therapy and graduated to using forearm crutches to walk. She returned to driving and is active with her family and friends. She goes to the gym regularly, swims and coaches her daughter’s soccer team. Her return to work as a physical therapist is very much within her sights.