Left to right: Kelley Delcamp, speech therapist; Rodney Tilbury; Tina Garrett, physical therapist; and Karley Kammer, occupational therapist

Rodney Tilbury came to Desert Cove Nursing Center in Chandler, Arizona, with a lot of health challenges.


Tilbury had surgery for neuroendocrine cancer, and then experienced respiratory failure and pneumonia. When he arrived at Desert Cove on July 1, 2017, he was on a feeding tube and was extremely weak. He couldn’t walk, stand or wheel himself in a wheelchair without total assistance. He also needed extensive assistance for transfers, dressing and grooming, and he required moderate assistance for bed mobility and bathing.


Physical, occupational and speech therapists became Tilbury’s allies in recovery.


PTs and OTs met with him six days a week, training him in therapeutic exercises, balance, gait and activities of daily living. They educated his family in how to assist him and even helped him practice fishing since that is one of his passions.


Speech therapists addressed Tilbury’s swallowing skills five days a week. When he started, he could only swallow liquids that were nectar-thick. Over the course of treatment, he took part in oral motor exercises, pharyngeal strength and coordination exercises and compensatory strategies. He was eventually able to eat and drink normally again.


“Since day one, Rodney has always been highly motivated to participate in therapy sessions and accepted any challenge that was presented to him,” said Karley Kammer, occupational therapist. “His hard work and willingness to go that extra mile has paid off and shows in the functional gains he has made during his stay at Desert Cove.”


Tilbury returned home on July 26. He had regained his independence in mobility, walking 300 feet with a front-wheeled walker and able to take care of his activities of daily living either on his own or with a little assistance from his wife.


“Therapy taught me how to walk, how to take care of myself and how to feel proud about myself,” said Tilbury.

View More Images