Physiotherapy helps LTC resident regain mobility

Vince Norris's success defies doctors' prognosis
8/14/2013  - Deron Hamel
Heron Terrace resident Vince Norris and physiotherapist assistant Mandy Bashura walk the halls at the Windsor long-term care home.  

Vince Norris first came to long-term care in March 2006 with limited mobility after suffering an aneurysm and post-operative stroke.

Today, the Heron Terrace resident has regained some of his mobility and quality of life that comes with more independence, thanks to the physiotherapy interventions he’s received — and the persistence of physiotherapy assistant Mandy Bashura.

Today, Norris can get around using a walker, moving up to 25 feet at a time, but for several years Norris’s only source of mobility was his wheelchair, which his doctors said he would be always need. This was largely because Norris’s right leg was severely impaired from the neurological damage he sustained. The leg was so sensitive to pain he couldn’t put weight on it.

Bashura says when she started working at Heron Terrace in February 2012, Norris had no interest in attending rehabilitation programs. However, Norris’s roommate was involved with the program three days a week.

The physiotherapy assistant would always spend time visiting Norris each time she had an appointment with his roommate. Bashura and Norris’s roommate would do exercises together, and they would encourage Norris to join them.

This went on for a long time, but Norris wasn’t interested. Then about a year ago things changed.

“He approached my boss and said he wanted to join the program,” Bashura recalls. “Ever since then he has been all for it.”

Working with Bashura, Norris uses dumbbells to enhance his upper-body strength and ankle weights to build strength in his lower legs. For several months Norris did the exercises from his wheelchair, but eventually was able to stand with Bashura’s help and use a handrail for guidance.

Norris is now working on improving the strength in his right leg, Bashura notes.

Bonnie Campeau, Norris’s sister, says she’s amazed by her brother’s progress since beginning his physiotherapy.

“It gives me goose bumps just talking about,” Campeau chuckles, adding Bashura’s dedication to her work has been phenomenal. “She told me right away at the beginning, ‘I’m going to get him to walk again.’ ”

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