Care and Recovery Are Sweeter Close to Home

When it came time to replace a failing hip in June 2015, Barbara Sweet traveled to Duluth and Rochester to have her replacement procedure done. “The social worker from Spooner Health arranged all the transportation,” Barbara recalls. “They made it very easy. After my surgery, I was happy that I could get back to Spooner to recover close to home.”

To aid in her recovery, Barbara took advantage of the hospital’s swing bed program. “You can’t take care of yourself very well after that sort of operation,” says Barbara. “I’ve got a lot of artificial joints in my legs and hips. The hip I had replaced broke the pelvis and I needed an additional surgery. One that surgery was done, I came back to Spooner Health for about seven weeks to heal.”

The swing bed program meant that Barbara was cared for by an expert team of physical and occupational therapists, registered nurses, physicians and social worker. “The swing bed service made it easy to get the physical and occupational therapy I needed, as well as nursing care while I was recovering,” says Barbara. “The staff at Spooner Health do a wonderful job of giving enough care to help you progress while pushing you to do things on your terms. It’s more like a family taking care of you, because they really take the time to get to know you.”

While Barbara was recovering, her husband, Richard, also sought treatment at Spooner Health for some minor balance and memory issues. “The staff made sure that I was able to get in a wheelchair and get over there to be with my husband during his therapy sessions,” remembers Barbara.

“I was having a few memory problems, nothing too severe, but it was to where I noticed it,” recalls Richard. Dr. Van Etten recommended that Richard meet with a physical therapist to work on his balance issues and with a speech therapist to help with his memory.

“Betsy Salquist, my speech therapist, taught me some things to do so I can be sure my memory is working better,” says Richard. “I have to focus and concentrate on using the memory skills, but it makes a big difference.”

In physical therapy, Richard worked on exercises to help with balance and found motivation to increase his physical activity at home. “I turned 89 recently, and even at my age it’s important to keep exercising and stay active,” says Richard. “We go to the fitness center about three times a week as well as exercising at home now, which helps with balance.”

Barbara and Richard are so thankful to have been able to get the care they needed close to home. “The new hospital is quite impressive,” says Richard. “Living in northern Wisconsin, we are lucky to have such a nice medical facility.”

Barbara was especially thankful that the close proximity meant that she could have a visit from Thomas, their West Highland white terrier. “I was so happy to have Thomas come visit me in my room. He means so much to me.”

Last June, Barbara had a knee replaced and again turned to Spooner Health’s swing bed service for her recovery – this time for a much shorter recovery of 10 days.

“The same people who helped me during my recovery at the old hospital were there to help me at the new hospital,” says Barbara. “It was kind of like returning to see family. I think the fact that the same people were there to help me again shows that Spooner Health is doing a really good job.”

Swing Bed Services at Spooner Health

Whether you’re recovering from surgery or coping with illness or injury, the swing bed program at Spooner Health can help you regain strength and maximize your independence. An interdisciplinary team of doctors, registered nurses, therapists, activities, dietitian, social worker and others can help you with all aspects of recovery. To learn more about our swing bed program, visit or call 715-939-1741.

Speech Therapy Helps with Memory Enhancement

Speech therapy helps people with a wide variety of issues dealing with swallowing, speech, voice, as well as areas of cognition such as memory. Betsy Salquist, Speech Therapist, explains how she worked with Richard to help him enhance his memory function.

“Part of what I do is teach people memory strategies, so they can be empowered to help themselves continue to be as independent as possible in their daily life,” says Betsy. “With these strategies, they can rely less on their spouse or family allowing them to feel more independent and maintain a higher quality of life. Oftentimes, we can enhance our memory retention just by controlling how we think about information.

“Richard was able to implement daily journaling to help the brain feel more organized, keep the brain on task and serve as a memory book from day to day. He was also very successful with daily checklists, which helped keep him on task. In addition, Richard used his cell phone to support name recall of firneds, collected business cards of people he met to support recall, and placed simple reminder notes in strategic places. Other strategies may include habit formation, keeping items in the same place all the time; personalization, relating new information to previous knowledge; or visualization, thinking about things in images.”

Richard was able to identify the strategies that worked for him, practice them in therapy and ive examples of applying them to his daily life. With support from his spouse, Richard is maximizing memory function to have the highest possible quality of life.

To learn more about Speech Therapy or to schedule an appointment, call 715-939-1745.