Left to right: Shirla Kreilich, physical therapist assistant; Suzanne Petersen; Katie Strawbridge, occupational therapist; and Molly Dunsworth, speech therapist

After abdominal surgery, Suzanne Petersen came to The Westchester House in Chesterfield, Missouri, for rehabilitation.


When she arrived on Feb. 18, 2018, Petersen was weak and suffering from some confusion. She needed extensive assistance with bathing and dressing and some assistance with daily grooming tasks, self-feeding, walking, standing, transferring and bed mobility.


Physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Petersen five days a week to help her regain functional abilities.


The PT team used the Omnicycle seated exercise machine to help her regain strength and endurance, as well as a cross trainer and leg exercises. They also helped her practice walking and managing stairs. The OT team worked with her on self-care tasks and upper-body dexterity, including exercises in which she moved rings over a curved bar to practice grip and reach. Speech therapy helped her improve her cognition, language skills and swallowing.


“Suzanne worked hard during therapy sessions and was willing to do whatever was asked of her,” said Shirla Kreilich, physical therapist assistant.


“I liked riding the bike and doing the rings,” said Petersen. “I will miss everyone, but I am excited to go home.”


Petersen was able to walk up to 400 feet with a walker and standby assistance when she returned to her group home on April 26. She only needed supervision for bed mobility, transfers and feeding herself, and her swallowing was back to normal.