Elsie Tank with Tina Garrett, physical therapist

Infection sent Tempe, Arizona, resident Elsie Tank to the hospital in June 2018, but rehabilitation helped her recover and return home.


When Tank arrived at Desert Cove Nursing Center in Chandler, Arizona, on June 20, she was very weak and unable to walk, get out of bed without total assistance, bathe or dress herself. She needed extensive help with bed mobility, balance, grooming and swallowing, and she had difficulty thinking clearly.


Tank began working with physical, occupational and speech therapists five days a week.


Physical therapists did therapeutic exercises and activities with Tank to help her increase her strength and endurance, and as she progressed, they were able to train her in balance and walking as well.


Occupational therapists used therapeutic activities and guided Tank through training in self-care.


Speech therapists focused on helping Tank with safety awareness and swallowing strategies.


“My therapy has been getting me better since I’ve gotten here,” said Tank. “I’ve been walking, lifting weights and riding the [exercise] bike. I have enjoyed my time here and the staff. They all work well with me and are nice, helpful people.”


“Elsie was always a willing participant and eager for therapy,” said Tina Garrett, physical therapist. “She was always smiling every time I worked with her.”


On July 11, Tank returned to her group home. She was thinking clearly again, swallowing well on a mechanical soft diet and thin liquids and independent in her hygiene, self-feeding, sitting balance, bed mobility and transfers. She can bathe and get dressed with minimal assistance and walk and stand with supervision.