Case Study: Darion Roberts

Success stories
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Darion Roberts and Encompass Health therapy team

Patients can make huge functional gains in short periods of time with a little extra help from state-of-the-art technology.

One patient that is proof of this is Darion Roberts. Darion already possessed qualities such as determination, perseverance and an overall positive attitude, but after multiple hospital stays and a history of obesity and heart failure, he was struggling to recover.

Through the use of innovative technologies combined with compassionate and expert care, Darion went from being completely dependent when he entered rehabilitation to regaining his independence and returning home.

Meet Darion

Darion, 40, was hospitlized with sepsis, acute hypoxic and hypercapnic respiratory failure. He developed MRSA pneumonia and had a prolonged ICU stay before he was transfered to a long-term acute care (LTAC) facility.

This ultimately led to critical illness myopathy resulting in severely impaired mobility. He was in need of comprehensive rehabilitation and intensive therapy provided in the inpatient rehabilitation setting, where patients receive three hours of therapy a day, five days a week.

When he was admitted to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Waco in Texas, Darion was completely dependent and had not been walking or even standing since his original hospitalization more than three months before. His care team focused on using the latest cutting-edge technology along with their clinical expertise to help him regain his independence.

Standing Again

With the use of the Barihab, a mat that assists a patient from supine to sit to stand, Darion was ready to stand for the first time in months. The Barihab provides unparalleled safety while offering a built-in electronic hi-low treatment platform, back rest and seat lift with a lifting capacity of 1,000 pounds.

Darion was able to progress from needing an increased mat height, seat lift and knee support to standing without assistance. Physical therapy treatments focused on gradually increasing the duration of activity to improve tolerance, decreasing the seat height to challenge his lower extremity strength and coordination and slowly removing external assistance needed to block knees and avoid knee buckling.

After accomplishing an unsupported static stance, Darion was challenged with performing dynamic activities such as sit to stands and standing lower body exercises focused on strength and balance.

Taking His First Steps

The Bioness Vector was integrated into Darion’s plan of care while he continued to progress his skills with the Barihab. With the help of the Bioness Vector, which supports up to 200 pounds of a patient’s weight and allows them to walk safely without the fear of falling, Darion progressed to taking his first steps.

He managed to walk short distances of 20 feet for the first time in over three months using this technology; it was the catalyst in gaining his independence back. After this accomplishment, his care team had him stand at the parallel bars and take his first steps bearing the full weight of his body.

This was a huge accomplishment, but Darion wasn’t done yet.

Building Confidence, Trust and Endurance

Encompass Health Waco received its newest piece of equipment, the Litegait, during Darion’s rehabilitation stay. The LiteGait is able to offload 500 pounds and can be used over a treadmill or on its own.

Darion was one of the test patients for therapy staff to learn from. With the assistance of the LiteGait, he was able to increase his endurance and distance before attempting to walk with a walker on his own. He worked his way to independence by increasing his gait speed and decreasing his need for offloading.

Darion managed to walk over 200 feet with a rolling walker, ascend and descend eight steps and ultimately gain back his independence.

These strides in his functional mobility translated to his self-care, as well. When Darion arrived at Encompass Health, he was limited to bed baths and getting dressed in bed. By the end of his stay, he was able to independently stand in the shower and brush his teeth while standing.

“You have two options: you can quit, or you can make up your mind and come back the next day even stronger,” Darion said.

Darion’s experience working with a variety of innovative technology in addition to his unique perseverance helped him achieve his recovery goals, and after four weeks at Encompass Health, he was able to return home.

The content of this site is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical conditions or treatments.