Published on September 15, 2020

Home Care Therapy Helps Restore Strength and Independence

Photo of Richard Konsdorf sitting in his shop enjoying life and feeling stronger, confident and motivated to continue improving.

After therapy at MidMichigan Home Care, Richard Konsdorf says he’s significantly stronger, confident and motivated to continue improving.

Richard Konsdorf suffered a cervical spinal cord injury as a teen, but that didn’t keep him from being extremely active. He was completely independent with most activities including driving and outside yard work on his many acres from his power chair. But after a spinal surgery and shunt placement became necessary late last year, Konsdorf needed the assistance of MidMichigan Home Care to help him work his way back to the active lifestyle he knew.

After healing from surgery, Konsdorf’s objectives were strengthening his upper body and working on transfers from his chair without relying too heavily upon his wife. Erin Wohlfert, physical therapist, MidMichigan Home Care, developed a plan and scheduled to see Konsdorf in his home three times per week. “There is a little nervousness initially having someone come into your house,” said Konsdorf. “Each of these professionals put me at ease fairly quickly. They wore masks, cleaned hands and equipment frequently, and it was obvious they were making sure I would be safe.”

“Mr. Konsdorf was motivated,” said Wohlfert. “We stressed arm and core strength as well as an intensive home exercise program in order to help him meet his goals. He was progressing very well until he experienced a setback.”

Konsdorf’s setback was an injury to his left elbow resulting in an open wound that required surgery and another hospital stay. “I have to tell you, it was really tough,” he said. “I’d already had a major surgery and was rebounding. When you have another obstacle, it’s difficult. I was glad to have energetic therapists to work with.”

Upon returning home, Konsdorf maintained his confidence and motivation. “Erin really helped me focus,” he said. “She pushed me with such a positive attitude; she made me believe I could do it.”

Then, after graduating from physical therapy, Konsdorf began working with Wendy Gatrell, occupational therapist, MidMichigan Home Care.

“I worked with Richard for several weeks. He was discharged after demonstrating significantly increased bilateral elbow and shoulder strength, had improved in all daily activities, and was even able to perform light meal prep,” said Gatrell.

Konsdorf says he is significantly stronger as a result of his therapy sessions. He looks forward to going camping and working on his 1968 Pontiac Lemans. “When you are going through a tough time, having skilled professionals is important,” said Konsdorf. “What makes the difference, though, is having those professionals care about you, and show that they care. That was my experience.”

Those interested in more information regarding MidMichigan Home Care services may visit www.midmichigan.org/HomeCare or call (800) 862-5002.