News  ›  Community

How rehabilitation services helped a COVID-19 patient get back to life

March 18, 2021

When Schaumburg resident Kristin Ebert was experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms in late October she wasn’t terribly concerned. She didn’t have a fever and was not in any pain. However, things quickly turned and her cough developed into labored breathing.

“When the thought of even going to the front door to get the mail seemed impossible, I knew it was time to call 911,” Ebert shared. A Type 1 diabetic, Ebert knew even though she was only in her fifties she was at a higher risk for complications.

Ebert spent three weeks in the hospital on oxygen but fortunately did not have to be ventilated. She finally turned a corner, started getting better and was released home in mid-November. She was able to have some home health support and started physical and occupational rehab therapy at home. After two more weeks she graduated to Day Rehab at NCH for three days a week, two hours a day.

“Recovery is very much about pacing myself,” Ebert said. “I’ve always been the type to bring all my groceries inside on one trip, put them away, start dinner and feed the cat all without stopping. After COVID I have had to slow down and take breaks to rest during each task.”

Day Rehab is helping Ebert get back to life as she once knew it.

Image shows a patient moving clean dishes from the dishwasher into an upper cabinet as part of her rehabilitation therapy.
The Activities for Daily Living apartment includes a full-scale and fully stocked kitchen for patients to practice everyday tasks while supervised and supported by their rehab care team.

“In January of this year, NCH opened an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) apartment to offer rehab patients the ability to simulate household tasks for training and practice,” said Rehab Services Manager, Julie Schauble, P.T. “The apartment is a brand new space created through the John M. Boler grant fund located at 3300 Kirchoff Rd. in Rolling Meadows. It has been an amazing addition to our services, allowing our patients to practice activities of daily living in a home-like setting. Patients work on daily skills like bed making, laundry tasks like folding and putting clothes away, bathroom transfers (tub, shower and toilet) and many tasks in the kitchen.”

Ebert’s therapy was personalized to her daily activities. “I live alone with my cat, Gaby. I needed to retrain my body how to reach up in the cabinet to get food for Gaby, put her food bowl on the floor and keep her litterbox clean. It’s not as easy as you think. Gradually, when I thought I had mastered the tasks, my therapist would then ask me to verbally describe what I was doing AS I was doing it. That was exhausting!”

Ebert tears up when talking about her Day Rehab care team, “Every single one of them was amazing. It seems since I’ve gone through this I’ve been so emotional. It wasn’t unusual for me to break down and cry during a rehab session. The team is so compassionate and understanding.”

Ebert started back to work part-time on March 16 with the hope of full-time soon.

“I just look back at what I’ve been through and break down and cry because I’m so grateful and thankful that I made it this far.”

The NCH Day Rehab Program is designed for individuals recovering from a significant illness or injury impacting their mobility and independence. It provides intensive, structured, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services in an outpatient setting and is guided by a patient/family centered approach to care. For more information call 847-618-3880 or visit on nch.org.

© 2021 Northwest Community Healthcare. All rights reserved.