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It’s rare for a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility to have spouses in for therapy at the same time, but such was the case for Marvin and Peggy Smith.


As Life Care Center of East Ridge, Tennessee, was opening for business in April 2017, the couple found themselves in need of its services. Peggy was admitted on the first day of operation for rehab after spinal surgery, knowing she would be in good care since her daughter, Jennie Anderson, is the director of nursing.


When Peggy arrived, she was experiencing a high level of pain and was not able to move very much.


Physical and occupational therapists began working with Peggy six days a week. The PT team helped her do strengthening exercises and balance exercises, as well as coordination training and gait training. Special tools, including the Biodex Balance System SD and the FreeStep Supported Ambulation System helped her recover. The OT team worked with her on activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, bathing and grooming, and speech therapy helped her overcome mild swallowing problems.


“It was rough at first,” Peggy shared. “I used the stationary bike, and that helped, and we did stretching exercises. The therapists were very kind to me when I was in such horrible pain.”


Peggy progressed to where she could use a walker to walk up to 600 feet with supervision. Her pain was gone, and she was able to do her daily self-care activities with setup assistance and light homemaking with minimal assistance.


On June 23, Peggy returned home so she could be available when her husband had surgery for oral cancer. After the surgery, Marvin began therapy at Life Care Center of East Ridge as an inpatient while Peggy continued her rehab program as an outpatient.


When Marvin arrived, he had difficulty speaking and swallowing and needed speech therapy. He was also weak and in need of PT and OT. While ST worked with him on speech and swallowing, PT addressed his balance, strength and walking, and OT helped him regain his ability to take care of himself.


“Marvin was highly motivated to return home with his wife and participated well with therapy to maximize his rehab potential and reach his personal goals,” said Melissa Lovelady, physical therapist.


“Mom stayed every day and night with Daddy in his room, just as if she was still a resident here, until Daddy went home,” said Anderson, the Smiths’ daughter.


Marvin was able to return home on Aug. 10, walking up to 550 feet without an assistive device. He continued to do therapy as an outpatient.


“You couldn’t ask for a better team,” Peggy shared about their experience at Life Care Center of East Ridge. “It’s like a family. It’s a very wonderful place if you have what we had going on. Everyone there went out of their way to take care of us.”


Anderson added, “My parents are both better because of the excellent care they received at the hands of such gifted and loving associates. We are family at Life Care Center of East Ridge, and not just my parents. Every resident is family.”