South Carolina

Spartanburg Stroke Survivor Regains Independence

When 70-year-old George Lockamy, a stroke survivor from Spartanburg, S.C., was asked what occupational therapy meant to him, he became emotional. Especially when talking about his therapist, Carolyn Politi from Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute.

I was so frightened when I first got to the hospital, but Carolyn knew exactly how I felt,” Lockamy says. “I was so limited in what I could do. Carolyn’s compassion, patience, and smile helped me reclaim my independence.”

Lockamy, who suffered a stroke in September 2014, was paralyzed on his left side. When he entered Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, he couldn’t dress or bathe himself. After four weeks of inpatient rehabilitation and six months of continued outpatient therapy, Lockamy is able to walk independently and is back home in his role as a husband and father.

Politi, who has been an occupational therapist for seven years, says it’s her passion to see patients like Lockamy progress and be able to perform activities of daily living.

We provide occupational therapy to help patients develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills,” she says. “We always start with patients’ goals to determine what they want to accomplish. Once we know what they want to be able to do, we create individualized treatment plans to help the patients reach those goals.

At Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, occupational therapists are part of an interdisciplinary team treating the patient. The team includes physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

Occupational therapy is essential to a patient’s recovery, according to Politi. “The better prepared a patient is at being able to complete daily tasks at home, the more complete the healing process will be,” she says.

Such was the case with Lockamy, who learned how to walk and perform daily tasks.

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Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute Awarded Advanced Stroke Certification

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute recently received The Joint Commission’s disease-specific certification for stroke rehabilitation, which signifies the hospital’s dedication to developing better results for stroke patients. The award was given after a rigorous on-site review by an expert evaluator.

This award recognizes how committed we are and how well we provide rehabilitation following a stroke,” says Richard Schulz, Chief Executive Officer at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute.We want to provide hope and quality of life to our community members who have experienced this debilitating event. For many, it’s their only chance at returning back to families, friends and daily routines.

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina had the 6th highest stroke death rate in the nation in 2010 and is among a group of Southeastern states with high stroke death rates referred to as the “Stroke Belt.” Stroke resulted in almost 15,000 patients being hospitalized in South Carolina in 2012. This past year at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, almost 82 percent of their stroke patients return to normal activities within their communities, which is 10 percent above the national average.

Certification through the Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Program is voluntary and available only to stroke programs in Join Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. Certification requirements address three core areas:

  • Compliance with consensus-based national standards.
  • Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care.
  • Organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

Stroke continues to be highly prevalent in our community and often is a life changing event for the stroke survivor and his or her family,” Schulz says. “We feel it’s our obligation and privilege to continue to improve services to stroke survivors in Spartanburg and its surrounding areas.

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