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Our Patients

    • Tom Vankuiken Feeding Horse

      Tom Vankuiken


      Tom Vankuikan felt ill. When the strange feeling persisted through the afternoon, he asked his wife, Ursula, to drive him to the emergency room. There, doctors determined Tom had suffered a stroke along with a serious blood infection called sepsis. He spent a week in the hospital, but his family felt he needed more time to heal before going home.

      They chose HonorHealth Rehabilitation Hospital for its Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)-accredited stroke program*. Tom’s primary goal was to return to his independent lifestyle and volunteer work at Healing Hearts, a ranch that helps abused or neglected domestic companion and farm animals learn to trust again.

      Tom and Ursula put their trust in HonorHealth Rehabilitation. Led by a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, therapists and aides worked to help Tom move confidently again. In physical therapy, he navigated through a series of obstacles designed to test his balance and practiced tasks such as getting in and out of a car. Occupational therapy helped Tom re-learn crucial tasks such as meal planning and balancing a checkbook.

      While Tom was making physical strides in rehabilitation, he was emotionally down, missing the ranch and his horses. Tom’s rehabilitation team were tuned into his mental state and worked with Ursula to bring the horses to HonorHealth Rehabilitation for a visit. Tom was outside again, feeding carrots to his Healing Heart horses who were now helping him. “It was the best medicine for him,” said Ursula.

      After 15 days, Tom was ready to go home, grateful for the personalized care he received at our hospital. Tom continues to make progress. He is back to driving, working out and planning to resume volunteer work at Healing Hearts in the near future.  

      *CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Its accredited stroke programs provide services that focus on prevention, on minimizing impairment, on reducing activity limitations, and on maximizing the participation and quality of life of persons who have sustained a stroke.