Left to right: Abby Cracchiolo, speech therapist; Kitty Schneider, physical therapist assistant; Carolyn Gerberding; and Lina Palazzolo, occupational therapist assistant

In September 2018, Carolyn Gerberding fainted and collapsed due to encephalopathy, a condition that affects the functions and structure of the brain.


Her fall and the effects of her condition left Gerberding unable to walk or perform basic hygiene and self-care tasks without assistance. She also experienced impaired cognition and a reduced ability to understand and communicate with others.


Gerberding was admitted to The Westchester House in Chesterfield, Missouri, for rehabilitation on Sept. 8.


Physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Gerberding to improve her mobility, allow her to independently perform self-care tasks and regain her awareness and communication abilities.


Physical therapy utilized leg-strengthening exercises and equipment, such as a NuStep® cross trainer that worked to improve mobility and balance. Occupational therapy focused on teaching Gerberding safe strategies to perform everyday tasks like dressing and bathing, and speech therapy helped her regain her cognition and communication abilities.


“Therapy helped me quite a bit,” said Gerberding. “I did have problems with my feet and legs, but now I’m stronger. All the girls did their jobs quite well.”


At the end of her therapy, Gerberding was able to use a walker to balance and walk independently, she could go up and down stairs, she performed all her self-care and hygiene functions without assistance and she could communicate fully.


Gerberding completed therapy on Oct. 25, 2018, and excitedly returned to her home in Overland, Missouri.