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The Road to Recovery: Providence’s COVID-19 Recovery Unit Graduates Share Stories

Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center is proud to serve people recovering from COVID-19. Knowing the high infection rates of the disease and the need for isolation of persons affected, we established a distinct COVID-19 Recovery Unit to care for patients who needed therapy between hospital and home. Over 400 patients have already been able to return home, or to a lower care level. Here are a few of their stories.

Interrupting A Busy Life 

Road_to_Recovery_blog_Portrait_350x350.jpgFrank had always been proud of being an active older adult. “I used to run around like a chicken with my head cut off,” he says. “I was busy, busy, busy.” But that was before COVID-19. “We heard about how bad it was for everyone, but we didn’t expect to get it,” Frank says. “I guess that’s probably how everyone feels. But then we got it, and we got it good.”

After he and his wife Dorothy spent weeks at the hospital battling for their lives, they were finally out of the woods. But their doctors told them the road to recovery would be a long one. “They said, ‘Maybe you should go to Providence. They have a recovery unit there that may be able to help get you back to where you were.’ So we listened, and we’re glad we did.”

Frank and Dorothy joined the many others who found hope and regained strength in the COVID-19 Recovery Unit at Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center. While there, Frank had to work to get back to his former strength, and he says the staff there worked tirelessly to help him.

“They did a wonderful job,” he says. “Everybody was wonderful.”

He and his wife had adjoining rooms, and they would often visit each other throughout the day as they felt strong enough.

“Being away from home that long can be lonely, but they did what they could to make sure we knew they cared about us,” Frank says. And after weeks of hard work, they graduated from the unit and returned to their Lemont home.

“I know I might never be my old self again,” Frank says. “But I know I’m in as good a place as I could be. Providence really helped. I would recommend them to anyone.”

All In The Family 

“It happened so quickly,” Nancy says, of finding out her cousin Ronnie, a resident at Village Woods, had tested positive for COVID-19. “He couldn’t stay where he was, but he couldn’t really come home, either.”

Thankfully, they learned he could stay in the Providence family by moving to the recovery unit at Downers Grove. “It wasn’t what Ronnie wanted,” she says. “He loves his home. He was going from being the ‘Mayor of Village Woods’ to a place where he didn’t know anyone.”

Still, they made the move quickly, and prayed for the best outcome. Because Ronnie had many underlying health conditions, the family was concerned. But it didn’t take long for him to be back to his old life, symptom-free and with no long-term effects from the virus.

“None of us would want to be misplaced from our home,” Nancy says. “But this was the best outcome you could ask for.”

Recovery Right At Home

When residents at Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation were hospitalized for COVID-19, it was a relief for family members to know that they could recover right at Providence, thanks to the COVID-19 Recovery Unit.

“It’s hard enough to know you can’t see the people you love,” says Matt, son of Mary, a Providence resident who spent time in the recovery unit. “It was a relief to know she could recover in a place where we were confident in her care.”

Mary agrees. “Oh, they were wonderful,” she says. “They took such good care of me. Every time I needed anything, I pressed my buzzer, and they came right away.”

She says it was scary getting a COVID-19 diagnosis, but it was easy to feel hope because staff were so encouraging.

“It was overwhelming, but at the same time it was a wonderful experience,” she says. “I just can’t say enough about the people, the nurses, the aides— how wonderful they were.”

Providence is grateful for the opportunity to serve the community during a difficult time. The unit will remain in service as long as there is a need.   

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