Success Stories

Louis Rivera

After his motorcycle accident in New Orleans, Louis was relieved to find NCRH so he could recover close to home.

Retired at age 69, Louis Rivera lives in Windsor, CO with his spouse of 51 years. He loves to spend time with his daughter, son, and three grandchildren. In retirement, he has more time to focus on his hobbies. These include participating in the Knights of Columbus, fishing, camping, traveling, riding his motorcycle, and doing yard work. One day on the way to a Knights on Bikes rally his life took a turn.

While riding through New Orleans, Louis got into a motorcycle accident that left him with multiple injuries including a right lateral malleolus fracture. After receiving care from an acute hospital in Louisiana, Louis had to plan his return home. Part of the plan included finding a rehabilitation hospital where he could continue his recovery.

Louis’s case manager helped him find Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. Since NCRH was close to home, his family spoke to friends of theirs that were former patients. They all stated that it is the best place in Northern Colorado for inpatient rehabilitation.

With his family there to support him, Louis began his long-term recovery at NCRH. He stated, “God, faith, saying the rosary every day, friends praying, and the caring staff was what influenced my recovery the most.”

Louis’s team of therapists encouraged him to achieve his recovery goals. “The staff was always so sincere, had a positive attitude, and were willing to help me anytime. The nurses are always here for me and always happy and sincere. The therapists are amazing and have a great sense of humor! Dr. Witek was great!”

Louis made great progress in his recovery and looks forward to returning home soon. He will continue his recovery with outpatient therapy at NCRH. Ready to get back to everyday life, he has plans to go camping in South Dakota this summer. 

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Butch Anderson

Butch built a life he loved but was met with complications after an elective spinal surgery that required continued care.

Butch Anderson has lived a fulfilling life, one he describes as fantastic! At 75-years-old, he lives in Brush, CO with his dog, Maggie, where he owns and operates a contract handyman business. In his spare time, Butch enjoys fishing, camping, and spending time with his son.

Recently, the life Butch built and came to love had to pause for elective spinal surgery. The surgery addressed his cervical myelopathy, or compression of the spinal cord in the neck. Unfortunately, Butch experienced complications post-surgery including acute hypoxic respiratory failure that required extended care.

Butch’s physician recommended Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. He and his family did their research and spoke with a liaison from the hospital. When Butch learned that NCRH is ranked in the Top 10% of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in the United States, his decision was made.

“With that kind of award, you know you will be getting a great facility,” Butch stated.

When Butch first arrived at NCRH, he was anxious that his condition would not improve. “I came in wondering if I would ever return home, but NCRH helped me to really understand that I could!” He worked hard with his team of therapists and appreciated their support and dedication to his recovery.

“Speech therapy helped me so much and gave me wonderful resources and great education. Dr. Witek was great and came to visit me every day. I enjoyed his positive attitude.”

After a month at NCRH, Butch has made great progress. He explained, “I have not met anyone here that I don’t respect. Everyone goes above and beyond to help!” Excited to return home, Butch looks forward to picking up his old hobbies and can’t wait to be back with his beloved dog.

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Berniece Nadeau

Berniece regained her independence at NCRH after suffering from COVID-19.

Berniece Nadeau, 62, lives in Fort Morgan, Colorado with her husband and their two chihuahuas. She and her husband love spending time with their two children and four grandchildren. In her free time, she likes walking her dogs and camping in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. 

One day Berniece started experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, and respiratory issues. Her brother came over that day to visit and found her on the floor. He immediately called an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. There she was diagnosed with COVID-19, pneumonia, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Unable to make the decision herself, Berniece’s family stepped in and chose to transfer her to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Two of her family members were previous patients and knew NCLTAH would take good care of her. Sadie, Berniece’s daughter stated, “We chose the facility due to the success rate and how great we know it is! I also love that it has all the levels of care we need to get her home.”

While working through her recovery at NCLTAH, Berniece stated, “I really enjoy the two physicians, Dr. Pearson and Dr. Masotti. They are very competent and knowledgeable.” With their support, she was able to progress enough to be transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

Berniece started the inpatient therapy program with NCRH and was confident in the staff’s ability to get her back to better. “There are so many great PCT’s and nurses that were so encouraging and wonderful! The respiratory therapists were great and very knowledgeable. The staff kept me very motivated and were always so positive. The housekeeping staff and kitchen staff were amazing! They would always go out of their way to help me. I loved that they would all go the extra mile! Overall, it was a great experience!”

After nearly two months at NCLTAH and NCRH, Berniece discharged home, excited to return to her husband and her dogs. She will continue her recovery with outpatient therapy at NCRH. As an outpatient, Berniece will work on building her strength and endurance with physical and occupational therapy.

Berniece has specific goals as she continues to recover.  Before her hospitalization, Berniece was walking her dogs all the time. Her ultimate goal is to walk them again without needing an assistive device. She would also like to start volunteering with foster children in the future.

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Debbie Seader

After suffering a fall and contracting an infection, Debbie Seader needed rehabilitation before she could safely return home.

Married with two children and five grandchildren, Debbie Seader has always enjoyed taking care of her family. She stays busy with her hobbies like reading, traveling, and watching her favorite TV shows. Her faith is very important to her, so she also spends her time going to church and reading her bible.

Debbie’s life changed one December day after waking up in the middle of the night and falling. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with MSSA bacteremia tricuspid valve endocarditis. Because of continuing complications, her hospital stay was prolonged.

After a recommendation from the hospital, Debbie chose to be transferred to the Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. She was impressed with the staff and appreciated their support.

“I love the positive attitudes of everyone at NCRH. They are all so friendly and kind! The therapists are always letting me know how well I am doing. The nurses and PCT’s are wonderful. They are always available to help and very kind. Dr. Arrogante and Dr. Asadi are very competent. They are always communicating with me every day.”

When Debbie first started her recovery, she could hardly lift her arms and now she is walking with a walker. “The therapists are providing me with various exercises that keep me working hard, it’s never boring and they are making sure I get to go home.”

Debbie looks forward to her home assessment and is planned to discharge at the end of the month. Excited to reunite with her family, Debbie’s ultimate goal is to walk without her walker and be able to do the stairs. 

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Norma Prince

Norma Prince chose the certified stroke program at NCRH for her post-stroke recovery

A full-time mechanical engineer, Norma Prince leads teams that design medical devices. The 57-year-old has always been very active. Norma has been married for 33 years and has a 25-year-old son. Beyond her family and work, Norma’s hobbies include reading, hiking, and biking.

One day at home, Norma began experiencing headaches, followed by weakness on her left side. Concerned, she sought medical evaluation. Tests provided a diagnosis. Norma suffered a right frontal-parietal intracranial hemorrhage, a type of brain bleed.

Once stabilized, Norma needed rehabilitation before she could safely return home. A friend who participated in outpatient therapy at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital (NCRH) recommended the facility. Additionally, the stroke specialty program at NCRH is certified by The Joint Commission. Norma decided that NCRH was the right choice for the next stage of her recovery.

Norma’s experience at NCRH has been even better than she expected.

“The care has been excellent!” Norma shared. “They have the most updated rehab equipment, which has helped with my recovery. The food is exceptional!”

The staff at NCRH also stood out to Norma.

“Dr. Arrogante listens well and cares about my recovery. The physical and occupational therapists have been outstanding, and all have very positive attitudes. They are always cheering me on! Every one of the staff members has been great and really have genuinely taken an interest in my recovery. Even the cafeteria and housekeeping staff make you feel welcome and take an interest in your recovery. And since my mother was a PCT, I really appreciate everything the PCTs do here at NCRH. They are all very dedicated to their job.”

Norma looks forward to getting back to working and hiking. After discharging from NCRH, she returned for outpatient physical and occupational therapies. “I was able to walk with a walker after a short time thanks to the guidance and expertise of the inpatient physical and occupational therapists. I’m now working with the outpatient therapists to walk on my own. I highly recommend Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for stroke recovery,” she shared with a smile.

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Richard Fitzsimons

After suffering a stroke, Richard Fitzsimons chose NCRH for their certified stroke program and top 10% ranking.

For seven years, Richard Fitzsimons has made the most of retirement. The free time has enabled him to enjoy his passion for working on cars and being part of the Flatlanders Car Club. Richard, 77, also loves spending time with his wife of 52 years and their dog. He finds joy in going out to dinner with his family and watching his favorite television show, Gunsmoke.

One late December day, Richard’s wife found him on the floor in their basement. He complained about weakness on his left side. The lifelong resident of Sterling was taken to the local acute care hospital. There, doctors diagnosed Richard with an acute ischemic MCA stroke with left hemiparesis.

Rehabilitation plays a critical role in post-stroke recovery. Richard’s wife works at a pharmacy in Sterling and spoke with nurses and physicians she knew. They recommended Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for their certified stroke program and ranking among the top 10% of rehabilitation hospitals in the nation.

NCRH proved to be just what Richard needed. “Everyone’s positive attitude rubbed off on me,” he shared, becoming emotional as he reflected. “The attitude of everyone in the facility influenced my recovery.”

Richard specifically noted the impact of his physician, Dr. Witek stating, “Dr. Witek is great at managing my care and has a great bedside matter.”

As he approaches the end of his inpatient stay, Richard looks forward to what’s ahead. He is excited to get back to his car club, his wife, and his dog.


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Robert George

After suffering a stroke, Robert George chose the certified stroke program at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for his recovery

Robert George, 73, enjoys retired life in Loveland, CO. Robert spent his career teaching, in the air force, and as an electrical engineer. In retirement, he enjoys keeping active by swimming, bicycling, and doing yard work. He also enjoys building and flying model airplanes and is an amateur in astronomy. Robert has even built telescopes throughout the years. Volunteering at a hospital in the Loveland area is near to his heart. Robert is part of a group called SAINTS, which takes care of disabled patients.

At home one evening, Robert started experiencing dizziness, confusion, and left-sided weakness. He had suffered an acute ischemic cerebrovascular accident, also known as a CVA or stroke.

After his stroke, Robert was in need of rehabilitation. He chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. Robert was familiar with NCRH, as both he and his spouse were prior patients. “The NCRH staff are well-qualified for stroke patients, and very friendly,” Robert noted. “They are Stroke Certified by The Joint Commission, which when you have a stroke is where you want to be.”

Throughout his stay, Robert’s experiences reinforced his decision to choose NCRH.

Robert found encouragement in his fellow patients. “I have met another stroke patient here, and this has been my greatest motivation,” Robert shared. “We have become friends and have learned how to get through this together!”

The staff at NCRH impressed Robert, as well. “The OT, PT and ST are integrated and all have the same goal of ensuring progress,” he said. “The whole organization works as a team and everyone helps each other. The medical staff is great at cheering me on and making sure I am on target to reach my goal of going home!”

As he worked in therapy, Robert’s motivation was getting back home. Having achieved that goal, Robert has set a new target: resuming his hobbies. “I came [to NCRH] and I couldn’t walk or speak. Now, I can speak and walk!”

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Jim McHugh

The rare combination of Parkinson’s disease and myasthenia gravis left Jim McHugh severely deconditioned and in need of rehabilitation.

Retired life was treating Jim McHugh quite well. The 79-year-old spent his working years in healthcare management and as a physical therapist. Jim lives in Loveland, CO with his wife and son. He has four children and ten grandchildren that he loves spending time with. His hobbies include reading books and riding bikes, especially his recumbent bike. Retirement has afforded Jim the time to enjoy the people and things he loves so much.

Unfortunately, Jim has also spent that time battling not one, but two neurological conditions. Jim lives with both Parkinson’s disease and myasthenia gravis, an incredibly rare combination. Over time, Jim developed severe, generalized deconditioning. The overwhelming weakness led him to a local acute care hospital. The hospital referred Jim for rehabilitation to help restore his strength and independence.

Jim chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. A former patient, Jim was pleased with the care he received, and his outcomes. It was also a convenient choice. Jim lives just eight minutes from the hospital, making it easy for his wife to visit each day. Family support, led by Jim’s wife, had a big impact on his recovery. As did Jim’s background in rehabilitation. He understood the system well and was motivated to work hard.

“I was very impressed with the cohesiveness of the team,” Jim said when asked about his stay. “Everyone had excellent communication! The admissions office coordinated everything well for getting me into the facility. The way everyone worked together and the expertise of the therapists were the reasons we always chose to come back to NCRH. Everyone that works here loves their job. It really shows!”

One of the things Jim loved most about NCRH was the sendoff each patient receives from the staff.

“At the end of a patient’s stay, they do a standing ovation where all the staff applauds each patient as they leave the facility. This recognizes every patient individually and their success! This is such a delightful moment and I look forward to mine again Sunday!”

Sunday came and Jim discharged home with his wife. But Jim’s not done with NCRH. He chose to continue his recovery with the hospital’s outpatient program. Jim participated in the outpatient program before, with great satisfaction. “The therapists are great with getting involved with my care as an individual and really pushing me to meet my goals!”

Jim’s goals find their roots in his plans for the future. “I have a lot more to do in life and I know that success is solely about motivation and I have that! I owe it to my wife for all the motivation and love she has given to me!”

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Rick Deluca

Rick Deluca with his therapy team at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital: Lead Therapist Ben Adams, PT, DPT, Emily Hegarty, COTA and Ruth Amagliani, PT, DPT.

Rick Deluca, 63, considers himself “super active”. He lives in Northeaster, CO with his spouse. They enjoy traveling together, and Rick also enjoys fly fishing and hunting. That is, when Rick isn’t working as a full-time heavy equipment operator.

One day, Rick was involved in a front loader accident while transporting pipes at work. Driving the front loader downhill, it buckled up and threw Rick headfirst into the windshield. He remembers being unable to get up and felt paralyzed from the neck down.

At the hospital, doctors diagnosed Rick with an incomplete traumatic spinal cord injury from severe stenosis at C3-4 and C4-5. Rick underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. With surgery a success, Rick would need inpatient rehabilitation before returning home. His neurosurgeon recommended Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

Rick is thrilled with the recommendation.

“The nurses and PCTs have been excellent! They are caring, friendly, respectful, and check on me all the time,” Rick said. “The way they all care for me has touched my heart.”

“The leadership team has done an amazing job running this facility,” Rick continued. “The staff they hire is wonderful! Everyone has been so helpful during my stay, and I attribute it to the phenomenal leadership.”

The combination of clinical excellence provided by compassionate caregivers with Rick’s focus and determination produced great results.

“My success is due to pushing myself and following the directions given to me by my therapists,” Rick stated. “But what influenced my recovery the most is believing in God. Life is a gift and we have to nurture it every day.”

“I truly believe it is important to not give up and fight, since I have a lot of life left to live!”

Rick began to see the light at the end of the tunnel when he reached his first milestone — walking eight feet. “I just kept my eye on the prize, which was getting home!”

Before long, Rick claimed that prize, discharging home from NCRH. Rick is most excited about getting back to his hobbies and “just enjoying life”. Right before his accident, Rick bought a 911 Porsche Carrera. He remains determined to drive his dream car — he even kept a picture in his rehab room!

“I would recommend anyone with injuries to come to NCRH,” Rick said, reflecting on his stay. “It has been nothing but a great experience!”

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Nancy Ross

After breaking her hip in a fall at home, Nancy Ross came to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to regain her independence.

Nancy Ross lived a very social life before her hospitalization. She was active with her church, played bridge, and hung out with her friends and neighbors. She spent as much time as possible with her two kids and four grandchildren.

Then one day, Nancy fell at home while getting dressed. She suffered a closed displaced subtrochanteric fracture of the left femur, a type of hip fracture. Nancy also suffered a left colles fracture, which is a break in the forearm. To repair the broken hip, Nancy underwent surgery.

After surgery, Nancy needed rehabilitation to regain her independent lifestyle. She chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to help her achieve that goal. Some of Nancy’s friends had been patients in the past and loved the care they received.

Nancy’s recovery was fueled by her motivation to get home. Strong support from her kids, who called Nancy every day, also helped her healing.

The hospital staff also played a key role according to Nancy. “Everyone that works here is a team, and I am so thankful to have worked with all of them! The housekeepers especially get gold stars. They were always so helpful, talkative, and smiling!” [My therapists] were very competent and gave me the confidence to feel I will be okay when I discharge home.”

Nancy considers her stay a successful one.

“Success is knowing I am discharging home today and have been given all the “tricks” on how to do well at home alone,” Nancy stated. “The fact that I can transfer alone is success, especially with all my weight-bearing restrictions!”

Excited to get home, Nancy plans to take one day at a time. Her future goals are to get back to her prior life and drive again! Nancy has two quotes for life she wishes to share: “Find something good about every day!” and “If you have humor and you have faith, you make it in life!”

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Valerie Kline

Valerie Kline is using her Alinker walking bike again after recovering from COVID-19.

Valerie Kline lived an active life prior to her recent hospitalization. She worked as a full-time rehabilitation manager at an acute care hospital. Valerie, 62, enjoys cooking, reading, and bike riding on her recumbent trike. She uses an Alinker walking bike due to impaired mobility from multiple sclerosis. Valerie also loves spending time with her two sons and two granddaughters, traveling to historic places, and visiting monasteries.

One April day Valerie began to feel nauseous. A few days later, shortness of breath set in and she developed a fever. Valerie got progressively weaker to the point where she couldn’t move. She called an ambulance which transported her to the acute care hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with acute respiratory failure and administered a COVID-19 test.

The test came back positive.

After two weeks in the acute care hospital, Valerie healed enough to transition to a lower level of care. She chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to help her transition home. Valerie was familiar with NCRH from visiting when the hospital opened in 2005. That visit impressed Valerie. She also knew some of the therapists working at NCRH, and her kids live in the area.

“I can’t think of one single complaint,” Valerie said of her experience at NCRH. “Everyone was very kind, caring, and attentive. [They have] great therapists that are highly experienced and kept me moving toward my goal of improved mobility to go home.”

One of the things that most impressed Valerie was the involvement of Brenda Simon, the hospital CEO. “Brenda took time to get know me and cared about my recovery,” Valerie recalled. “She was very open and I loved the strong presence she had in the hospital. She would make rounds through the rehab gym and hand out treats to the patients!”

Valerie believes there are several phases to her success, but the most important was returning to her active life. Her main goal for rehab was to transfer on-and-off her Alinker walking bike to walk again, which she achieved! Valerie’s belief in “seeing the good everywhere you go” helped fuel her recovery. Valerie has discharged home from NCRH and resumed working full-time.

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Ray Lafflam

After two years of unsuccessful treatment for back pain, Ray Lafflam underwent surgery, followed by rehab at NCRH.

For the last 22 years, Ray Lafflam has been enjoying retirement. He loves to go camping, make fruit wine, and do woodworking. Ray, 75, lives with his wife in a fifth wheel RV in Loveland, CO. For two years, he was president of his Winnebago club.

But the last two years have been difficult for Ray, as he struggled with chronic lower back pain. Conservative attempts at managing the pain failed, so Ray elected to have an L2-pelvis fusion. After surgery, Ray chose to come to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

Ray chose NCRH for several reasons. Not only did the hospital come recommended, but he had a few friends that had been patients at NCRH and had a great experience. It also didn’t hurt that NCRH was close to the RV park where Ray lives.

Regardless of why Ray chose NCRH, he’s glad he did. He loves how the hospital provides three hours of therapy each day, stating “you won’t heal unless you work hard!”

Ray also praised the staff effusively.

“Dr. Whitek always listened to my health problems and did what he could to resolve them,” Ray shared. “The nurses have been great at giving me pain medications on a regular schedule. The therapists were excellent and I love how the therapy gym had such a fantastic assortment of machines and equipment.”

For Ray, success means he’s no longer hurting. After completing his home study, Ray discharged home from NCRH. He’s excited to be back in familiar surroundings with his wife and dog. And he can’t wait to go camping again, as it’s been more than two years since his last trip!

“I am so excited to get back to what retirement life should be like…and, of course, my wife’s cooking!”

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Ian Wickramasekera

Ian Wickramasekera was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, causing muscle weakness & paralysis.

Life in Aurora was good for 50-year-old Ian Wickramasekera. He spent his days teaching at Naropa University in Boulder, his nights going out dancing, and filled his spare time with long-distance running.

But then, Ian stopped feeling like himself. For a few weeks, he spiked high fevers and experienced delirium, body aches, shortness of breath, and a cough. Then his legs began giving him problems. Ian developed bilateral lower limb weakness. Walking became difficult and he fell several times. To Ian, it felt like he was becoming totally paralyzed.

Ian knew he needed medical help and sought care at his local hospital. They admitted Ian and the doctors ran some tests. Ian was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare condition that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system. This often leads to muscle weakness and paralysis.

Rehabilitation plays an important role in helping someone with GBS regain their independence. Ian spoke with a clinical liaison from Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. After their discussion, he felt NCRH was the right choice for his rehabilitation. Though Ian considered facilities closer to home, the services and outcomes NCRH offered impressed him.

Though Ian’s expectations were high, NCRH didn’t disappoint.

“The therapists influenced my recovery the most with all their encouragement,” Ian reflected. “Rebekka Keho (OT) and Shelby Lojo (PTA) had amazing treatment plans. Great communication. They collaborated well together and encouraged my independence. They are highly trained, mature, and open-hearted people. Anyone can be a therapist, but these ladies have been very motivating! Ben Adams (PT) always volunteered to help me and made me feel comfortable and safe. Mark Nagel (OT) incorporated music and dance in my therapy. He has great expertise!”

Ian looks forward to dancing with his friends again, as well as teaching. During his stay, Ian described success as leaving with the ability to regain full ambulation. In one day at NCRH, Ian had walked 267 feet!

Now discharged home, Ian is thankful he chose NCRH for his rehab. “Dr. Arrogante, the nurses, and everyone were great at listening and encouraging,” he said. “I am forever grateful for my experience here.”

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Gary Sampson

A stroke left Gary Sampson unable to do the things he loves, like volunteering.

Gary Sampson is one of those people you can’t help but admire. The self-described “professional volunteer” has made a living through a life of service. His career includes work as a police officer, part of the National Red Cross, and a Victim Witness Director at the District Attorney’s office.

In retirement, Gary worked with the Loveland Fair Board, serves as the Zone Chair of the Lions Club, is the Leading Knight for the Elks Lodge, and drives for the Senior Alternatives in Transportation program. He’s also a family man, enjoying his two children and five grandchildren whenever he can.

But, last year Gary suffered a stroke, bringing his active lifestyle to a halt. The stroke affected Gary’s left side and caused acute respiratory failure. He required a ventilator to breathe. To wean from the ventilator, he admitted to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. After successfully weaning from the vent, he was ready for inpatient rehabilitation. That led him next door to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

One of the main reasons Gary chose NCRH was their competency in the care of stroke patients. He was very pleased with his decision. “Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital is such a positive and motivating place to do rehab!” Gary stated. All the staff answered all my questions and it felt like a family atmosphere. Even Dr. Pearson, who was my LTACH physician, would come [to] see how I was doing in rehab.”

Upon completing his rehabilitation stay, Gary discharged home with his wife, Sherlyn. He continues his therapy on an outpatient basis at NCRH, progressing each day. He has returned to the Lions Club and is now the Second Vice District Governor with the 6NE District.

The most important advice Gary has to give for those in a similar situation?

“Little steps, in the long run, end up being big steps and NCRH helped me to be able to stand and walk again!”

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Margaret Matthews

Margaret Matthews_Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital

Margaret suffered a head injury when she tripped at a restaurant. To return home safely, she needed rehabilitation and chose NCRH.

Margaret Matthews, 72, enjoys a quiet, peaceful, retired life with her husband of 50 years, Jim. Together, they live in Windsor, CO, and spent the past 38 years caring for their family. For the past 16 years, Margaret has enjoyed participating in a ladies’ investment group. Together, the couple enjoys going to conditioning class. They also enjoy dining at their favorite restaurants.

Out for a meal one night, Margaret tripped over a folded-up carpet on the ground. She fractured her right ring finger in the fall and hit her head. Margaret remembers the entire accident. Jim brought her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma.

Due to the injury, Margaret would need rehabilitation to safely return home. She chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for her recovery. Many of their friends and family had been patients at NCRH. Margaret and Jim knew she would have an intensive therapy regimen at NCRH.

Jim would be a major influence on Margaret’s recovery. Every day, Jim was with his wife, sharing meals and supporting her. His support allowed Margaret to focus on her recovery.

Margaret also acknowledged the support of the staff at NCRH. “The nurses are so upbeat with a positive attitude,” she noted. “They are always smiling and helpful. The therapists are so patient and know when you are exhausted. And the food was fantastic. They were able to cater to my gluten-free diet.”

“I love how I was treated like an individual!”

Having put in the hard work, Margaret was able to discharge home with Jim. She looks forward to spending more time with him and getting out more often.

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James Heaberlin

After undergoing surgery on his spine, James came to NCRH to regain his strength in order to care for his stepson.

James Heaberlin rarely ever gets sick. The 82-year-old is a living testament to the benefits of an active lifestyle. James, who has lived in Fort Collins for the past 40 years, and has always been healthy. He enjoys daily three-mile walks with his dog and spending time with his family, including his wife, six children, and 16 grandkids. James is a retired military combat veteran who served in the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours. Retired from banking and insurance, James and his wife spend their days caring for their developmentally disabled stepson and doing household chores.

But one of those chores would wind up changing James’ trend of good health. Working on the garage door at his house, James fell from a ladder. In the fall, he suffered an L4 compression fracture.

Initially, James completed an outpatient therapy program to treat his injuries. Unfortunately, the pain only continued to increase. James elected to have a kyphoplasty — a minimally-invasive surgery to treat a spinal compression fracture. After surgery, James would require rehabilitation.

For his rehab, James chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. He chose NCRH because of its reputation, as well as the recommendation of a close family member who had success at the hospital.

James came to NCRH fully motivated to recover. “My motivation for recovery is that the Lord told me to marry my wife and take care of my stepson,” James stated. “My one and only goal is to get back on my feet and be strong enough to take care of my stepson.”

Working hard on his recovery, James made great progress while at NCRH. He is glad he chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for his recovery. “I absolutely have loved the physicians,” James said, as he prepared to discharge home. “They have always been so interested in helping me, so warm, and just extraordinary. And the nursing staff have been outstanding and always go above-and-beyond!”

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Edward Aitken

Edward Aitken has lived a life of service, with a specific passion for helping veterans.

Married for 51 years with two sons and three grandchildren, Edward Aitken has lived a life of service. He has served as the state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Colorado, Second Vice President of the United Veterans Coalition, and manager of the Associated Veterans of Loveland. His passion in life — if you couldn’t tell already — is helping veterans.

But when the 76-year-old was involved in a motor vehicle accident, that all came to a halt. Edward suffered an L4 compression fracture and sternal fracture. Inpatient rehabilitation would be important to get Edward back to serving others. Edward chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital because of past experience. His wife had been a patient at NCRH and received great care.

“The therapists were awesome! Very professional and yet, down to earth,” Edward recalled. “Jessica, Laura, and Isaiah were top notch. I’m not sure how therapy can be fun, but they made it that way! The food was great. Everyone was friendly. I can never give enough praise to all the staff for helping me get home.”

Motivated by his desire to get back to helping veterans, Edward worked hard at NCRH. As a result, he discharged home after less than two weeks. Edward is excited to resume outpatient therapy at NCRH and get back to serving the veterans in our community.

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Anne Sweet

Anne Sweet was enjoying her independent lifestyle before a serious fall landed her in the hospital.

Anne Sweet, 70, was used to her independent lifestyle. Anne lived alone but enjoyed the company of her friends, sister, nieces, and nephews. She spent her free time gardening and looking for flowers and plants at local nurseries.

One March day, Anne’s life changed forever. On the way home from a party at her sister’s house, Anne fell getting into a Lyft ride. She was hospitalized with bilateral subdural hematomas. Her hospitalization was extensive due to multiple complications. These included respiratory failure, left-sided hemiplegia, facial droop, and dysarthria.

When Anne was ready for the next stage of her recovery, her sister had a decision to make. She chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital, which came highly recommended by the staff at the short-term acute care hospital.

Anne appreciated her sister’s decision, stating “the care was consistent, and I really liked the staff.”

After several weeks at the long-term acute care hospital, Anne discharged to a skilled nursing facility. When she could handle intensive inpatient rehabilitation, she transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. Anne’s decision to choose NCRH was based on the hospital’s great reputation and focused rehab for her diagnosis. She also loved the hospital’s goal to get patients home.

“The staff was responsive to my needs and wanted to get me better to discharge home,” Anne said. “My sister and the staff worked together to make a comprehensive plan for me to get home. It was a team effort.”

That team received a lot of praise from Anne.

“Dr. Arrogante was a very competent physician. I loved working with Jessica, my physical therapist, because she was so professional, but also very creative with making therapy unique and fun. Jim, one of my nurses, was great about talking to me. He shared experience from his life that would help motivate me to get better. He was also very good at educating me about the medications I was taking.”

As Anne prepared to discharge to her new home — an independent living facility in Denver — she noted how things have changed since her initial hospitalization. “My goals have changed a lot during these hospitalizations,” she stated. “When I was in the LTACH, I just wanted to walk again. Now I want to be independent and live a life with my friends and family. I want to stay as healthy as possible and get back to gardening since that is my passion.”

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Leroy Rady

Leroy Rady admitted to NCRH to recover from a spinal cord injury he suffered in a fall.

Back in 2013, there was a Big Thompson River flood in Drake, CO. That is where Leroy Rady, 87, and his spouse, Marge, have lived for the past 20 years. Since the flood, Leroy has been rebuilding his home and fixing up the yard. He and Marge are very active and enjoy spending time with their three daughters and two grandchildren. He and Marge owned a telephone business and retired in 1997.

One June day, Leroy fell in his kitchen and hit his face, injuring his spine in the process. His diagnosis was an incomplete central cord syndrome secondary to a spinal cord injury at C6 with severe spinal stenosis. Unable to feel his arms and experiencing extreme pain, Leroy underwent surgical intervention.

Inpatient rehabilitation would be important for Leroy’s recovery. He chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital due to his daughter living close to the facility.

Leroy couldn’t be happier with the decision. He had praise for all the staff and the impact they had on his recovery. “The therapists influenced my recovery the most and made me work really hard,” he reflected. “I wanted to get home and they wanted to get me home!”

“The nurses were great,” he continued. “The CEO and director of nursing greeted me when I arrived and were very welcoming. I loved how the CEO would help in the kitchen and deliver popcorn every Friday to patients and staff. At other facilities, you don’t see this.”

Having made great progress, Leroy was ready to discharge home. That day would be an emotional one for Leroy. “The best part of my experience at NCRH was the standing ovation at the end of my stay,” he said with tears in his eyes. “Everyone I worked with was wishing me well on my journey ahead. I am so blessed to be doing as great as I am and to have worked with such a wonderful staff.”

Leroy also credits his family for their support, especially Marge.

Back home, Leroy is excited to get back to working on the house and the yard. He still has to wear a neck brace for a few more weeks but he is walking around the house and doing great!


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Michael Figal

Tammie Figal chose NCRH for Michael’s post-stroke recovery after it was highly recommended by friends.

Michael was so excited about his big 60th birthday party at his house. But ten minutes before the party he collapsed on the floor. Brought to the acute care hospital, Michael was diagnosed with acute basilar thrombosis. The doctors administered tPA and Michael had a thrombectomy performed.

Prior to his hospitalization, Michael lived an active life. He worked at Sunset Memorial Gardens (a funeral home) the past three years as a family service advisor. He also was the board president of the Evans Chamber for the past two years. Michael loves social events, fantasy football, and taking nature walks along the Poudre River Trail. From Greeley, CO, Michael has been married to his wife, Tammie, for 26 years.

Tammie chose Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital for Michael’s rehabilitation. Not only is NCRH close to their home, but it came highly recommended by their friends.

“My wife influenced my recovery the most,” Michael said. “She really pushed me to recuperate fast. She was also my watchdog to make sure I got the best care.”

Tammie added, “I had to be an advocate for Michael since he couldn’t speak. And I’m so glad I chose NCRH. Thank goodness we get a choice!”

Michael had great things to say about his experience at NCRH, noting specifically the attention and positivity of the staff. “The doctor came in frequently, and the PCTs always checked on me,” he noted. “The cafeteria staff was so positive and friendly. And I loved how the therapists posted my therapy schedule daily. It was a great visual communication tool.”

Upon completing his inpatient stay, Michael discharged home with a renewed freedom. “I came in a wheelchair and walked out of NCRH independently,” he exclaimed. Michael was excited to get back home to his normal life and not hospital life.

Michael’s future goals are to get back to work and to drive again. He has returned to social events and Chamber meetings. One of his greatest accomplishments is to be walking about the Poudre River Trail alone again.

“It feels like freedom,” he stated proudly.

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