Vida's Story

A woman with white hair and wearing a maroon cardigan, sitting in a wheelchair in her hospital room.

Vida Smith, 81, was born and raised in Austria on a farm near the Yugoslavian border. In 1951, when she was 11, the family’s farm was taken by communists which brought her to the U.S., settling in Colorado. Vida eventually moved to Slidell, Louisiana, where she currently lives.

On a late September day, Vida was walking down her driveway to the mailbox, when her walker caught on uneven pavement, causing her to fall. Fortunately, a mailman witnessed the fall and called for an ambulance which took her to Slidell Memorial Hospital. There, Vida was diagnosed with a displaced fracture near where the femur connects to the hip. The following day, she underwent a left partial hip joint replacement.

As a result of the surgery, Vida faced challenges moving around and performing daily living activities. Doctors recommended an inpatient rehabilitation hospital to regain mobility and independence. Vida had previously been a patient at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital and knew that was where she wanted to go. “I got such great care and everyone was so friendly, as if I’d known them for years.”

By mid-October, Vida was admitted and her care team began working with her to set rehabilitation goals, including walking and performing daily tasks with independence. These goals were very important to Vida because she lives alone.

In physical therapy, Vida practiced walking and performing a variety of exercises such as hip, knee and foot exercises designed to strengthen the muscles needed for walking and standing. She also used a seated stair stepper machine to increase lower extremity strength and endurance.  Vida practiced walking daily with therapists also teaching her proper techniques for walking up and down stairs and using her rolling walker safely.

Occupational therapists helped Vida practice performing activities of daily living, such as bathing dressing and grooming so she would be able to do these tasks independently when she returned home. Vida was taught how to get in and out of a shower safely with her rolling walker and how to use adaptive equipment such as a reacher and sock aide to put on her and take off her socks, shoes and pants.

After 10 days, Vida was ready to return home. She successfully achieved independence with all her self-care skills such as bathing and dressing and transferring in and out of the shower. She was also able to walk independently with a rolling walker and get in and out of a car with supervision.  Vida still had some work to do regarding navigating stairs, but she planned to continue working toward this goal with home health therapy.

“I still have a little ways to go, but I’ve pretty much met my goals,” said Vida. “The doctors and nurses praised that I was able to function so well. Everyone here is like family.”