Left to right: Keisha Harris, occupational therapist assistant; Jill Schoolfield, physical therapist assistant; Ivan Terrell; Tracy Dougherty, speech-language pathologist

On July 12, 2018, Ivan Terrell was referred to Life Care Center of Hixson, Tennessee, for cirrhosis of the liver and ascites, accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.


At first, Terrell needed extensive assistance with swallowing and daily activities. He also needed minimal assistance with other functional mobility tasks, like bed mobility, transfers and gait.


“At first, Mr. Terrell had trouble understanding why he was having difficulty swallowing,” said Tracy Dougherty, speech-language pathologist. “However, after a lot of education and hard work, he has made excellent progress. He will continue to receive home health after his discharge.”


With the help of physical and occupational therapists, Terrell is able to independently perform daily tasks. Physical and occupational therapists focused on proximal, core, pelvis and hip stability and utilized the Hulaball® and TheraBands.


Speech-language pathologists helped Terrell progress his swallowing by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation, shaker exercises and laryngeal strengthening exercises.


“Everyone here helped me to adjust,” said Terrell. “I have made a lot of friends. I feel like I can go home and do exercises, eat the right food and live a long life.”


Terrell completed therapy and was sent home on Oct. 19, 2018. He demonstrated significant progress with skilled therapy interventions and was able to achieve independence with activities of daily living, bed mobility, transfers, walking, stairs and swallowing function.