Margarita's story

Margarita Henao patient success story

A member of the waitstaff at a local country club, Margarita Henao was used to being on her feet, serving countless meals and assisting at many special events. However, the Fourth of July was a day off and she looked forward to being with her family and celebrating the holiday at a friend’s house. Margarita recalled waking up from a nap with her young granddaughter, but still feeling a little groggy. As she made her way down the hall, she lost her footing and fell down a flight of stairs. The 14-step descent left her with fractures of her spine, pelvis and left arm.

Taken by ambulance to Rahway Hospital, the 60-year-old native of Colombia underwent a series of tests and was soon stabilized. Although her injuries did not require surgery, Margarita was “non-weight bearing,” unable to walk, bathe or dress herself. Her daughter researched and chose Kessler Institute for her mother’s rehabilitation. “She wanted the right place for me,” said Margarita.

Margarita’s physician-led team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and other specialists, focused on helping her meet her goals: “To feel better and be able to walk safely ... and regain my confidence.”

While doctors and nurses helped manage her medical needs and pain, Margarita’s physical therapists worked on building her strength and mobility She learned how to sit and stand safety, get in and out of bed and how to use a walker – all of which she felt were major milestones. Margarita admitted being able to use the bathroom on her own was another a big accomplishment.

“Doing everything the therapists asked really helped my recovery,” said Margarita. “I feel 100% different from where I started.”

Margarita was also grateful for her family’s support. “Their visits, calls and text messages gave me positive energy,” she said. In addition, her daughter participated in Kessler’s family training and education sessions that helped ease Margarita’s discharge to home.

“I know I have to be patient but I’m determined to continue doing my exercises at home every day to get even stronger than I was before this happened, said Margarita. “I feel like I have a new life, thanks to Kessler.”