Barry's story

Barry Campbell in rehabilitation

It was a typical morning for Barry Campbell—waking up at 3 a.m. and getting ready for work—until he began feeling "off." A self-proclaimed healthy man, he said, "I didn't realize I was sick. I couldn't even walk down the steps… I was so confused."

Barry was transported to Cooper University Hospital and diagnosed with a heart attack. Once stabilized, he was discharged home to recover. However, he returned to the hospital three days later when he woke up feeling unwell again. Barry had suffered a stroke. "They said I had a stroke... A stroke? Not me!" he exclaimed.

Once he was stabilized, Barry selected Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – Marlton for his recovery. Upon admission, he needed assistance with walking, climbing stairs, and performing daily tasks like getting into bed, bathing and dressing. He also had difficulty with communication. Barry's team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and other specialists, led by his physician, meticulously integrated medical, therapy and specialized services into a highly individualized treatment plan.

Despite facing numerous physical and cognitive challenges, Barry's most significant obstacle was accepting that he needed help. "I never thought that I would need this type of help…it humbled me," he said. "When I first got here, I cried for the first few days…I was ready to get out of here, I did not want to be here. Then I decided it was time to work and get myself together. It was a whole process in my brain, I had to accept that you guys know what you're doing and that I needed the help."

Once he embraced help from his therapists, Barry made rapid progress. As a former member of the Marine Corps, he was no stranger to hard work and determination. According to his therapist, Barry would let them know if he wasn't being pushed hard enough during his therapy sessions. If he wasn't sweating heavily after a session, he was dissatisfied.

Through a variety of physical, occupational, and speech therapy services, totaling three hours daily, Barry steadily improved. In physical therapy, he concentrated on enhancing his strength, balance, and gait through high-intensity training using a polar heart rate monitor and dynamic obstacle courses. His preferred activity was running on the body weight-supported treadmill, even though he disliked wearing the harness.

Similarly, his occupational therapists provided him with adaptive techniques to perform daily tasks such as bathing, eating and dressing and focused on improving his arm strength using resistance bands. In speech therapy, he participated in various activities including Copy and Recall Treatment (CART), Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (VNeST), Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) and Response Elaboration Training (RET) to improve his vocabulary, grammar and comprehension. He also used a metronome for speech cueing and pacing.

After a couple of weeks at Kessler, Barry's communication skills improved and he was able to walk, climb steps and complete all daily tasks on his own. When Barry's therapist told him he no longer had to ask for help to get into bed or walk around, he responded, "I can do it on my own? This day is amazing."

Barry's recovery journey didn't end here. He planned to continue his recovery as an outpatient until he was "100%" and could run on the treadmill daily without the harness.