Peter found exceptional care ‘instrumental’ in his stroke recovery.
On January 23, lifetime pianist and accomplished singer Peter Clausen, 74, woke up with unusual numbness in his right arm and leg. At the piano that morning, there was a strange heaviness in his right hand. Recognizing these as potential symptoms of a stroke, Peter and his wife, Melanie, sought immediate help.
“Even with the pandemic, we never hesitated in going to the ER,” says Peter. “We knew I needed medical care right away.”
Gold standard care
At the TriPoint Emergency Department, the staff flew into action. TriPoint and Lake West medical centers have earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission as certified Primary Stroke Centers.
“There was no evidence of large vessel blockage on the initial imaging done in the Emergency Department,” says neurologist Hallie Kendis, MD. “We evaluated his carotid arteries, heart and brain and admitted him to the hospital. We treated him medically according to best practice guidelines, closely monitored him as his symptoms began to improve and began rehabilitation therapy.”
Comprehensive stroke rehabilitation
Determined to gain back all he had lost, after four days in the hospital, Peter chose to move to Lake Health’s Center for Comprehensive Rehabilitation (CCR). CCR is a 12-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation facility with private rooms, located at the Lake Continuing Care Center in Concord Township. Patients receive a minimum of three hours of intensive therapy a day, five days a week, from highly trained therapists using advanced equipment and technologies.
“Rehabilitation care after stroke requires a sustained and coordinated effort from a large team all working to achieve the best possible outcome,” says Nicholas Detore, MD, medical director for CCR. “Inpatient rehabilitation facilities offer the highest level of coordinated interdisciplinary care for patients after stroke. For stroke survivors who qualify, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recommend an inpatient rehab facility such as CCR because of the potential for better outcomes than in a less-intensive rehab facility. Peter’s ability to tolerate and benefit from high intensity rehabilitation care made him an excellent candidate for CCR.”
Added rehab excellence
Providing acute rehab expertise, three of CCR’s therapists recently earned additional qualifications as certified stroke rehabilitation specialists (CSRS). CSRS seminars teach physical and occupational therapists the evidence-based treatment techniques and research they need to achieve outstanding outcomes for stroke patients.
“Peter was committed to therapy from day one,” says occupational therapy assistant and certified stroke rehabilitation specialist Angela Longo. “He always had a smile, listened to directions and was dedicated to his recovery. His goal and passion, as a professional, was to play the piano again. His wife brought his keyboard in soon after he arrived and he never looked back!”
Peter arrived at CCR with decreased strength, impaired balance, impaired coordination in his right hand and arm, slight speech issues, and needing assistance with daily living activities and walking.
Dr. Detore, the CCR nursing staff, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapist Alysha Scheeser and board-certified music therapist Alyssa Leith worked together to support Peter’s rehab. They put special emphasis on hand and finger dexterity through fine motor activities and exercises to improve coordination and regain smooth, efficient finger movement. Through hard work, Peter made extraordinary progress. Discharged after just three weeks, he could walk without assistance of any kind. His strength, coordination, balance and endurance were greatly improved. And by that time, the sweet sounds of piano music, with keyboard and pedals, filtered through the hallway bringing joy to staff and patients alike.
“I began playing the piano when I was 4,” Peter says. “It’s always been ‘instrumental’ in my life.”
The CCR staff gave Peter a home exercise program to continue fine motor skills improvement and he began outpatient therapy sessions at TriPoint Physical and Occupational Therapy. His next goal is to return to the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. How does he feel about his care throughout the ordeal and recovery?
“Everyone from the Emergency Room to the hospital, to CCR and outpatient therapy is just extraordinary!” Peter says. “It felt like everybody was my best friend – I just hadn’t met them yet.”
More about the team:
Nicholas Detore, MD
Specialty: internal medicine
Office: Mentor, 440-205-5892
Halle Kendis, MD
Office: Willoughby, 440-946-1200
CCR Physical Therapists: Chris Haladyna, PT, CSRS; Nancy Ditzel, PT, CSRS
CCR Occupational Therapists: Angela Longo, OTA, CSRS; Ellen Nelson, COTA
Music Therapist: Alyssa Leith, MM, MT-BC
Speech Therapist: Alysha Scheeser, CCC-SLT
TriPoint Outpatient Therapists: Mary Bartel, CHT, OT, PT; Kelly Becay, PT