Flozell Smitty Smith

Flozell “Smitty” Smith, age 64, arrived at Vibra Hospital of Sacramento completely ventilator dependent with a tracheostomy. Because he couldn’t eat by mouth, he also required a PEG tube. His admission to Vibra came after a prolonged hospital stay with multiple setbacks. With a long journey to recovery ahead, Smitty struggled with anxiety when committing to any physical movement. He needed maximum assistance for most of his care needs.

Although Smitty arrived filled with hesitancy, he used the undying support of his wife, Darleen, to stay positive. She visited him every day and supported the staff with his care. Smitty’s journey was an uphill battle, and at times he was very apprehensive. Because of this, the staff made small changes to his routine until he felt more comfortable. He received support from the nursing staff and was very receptive to their care plan. Smitty began to trust the healing of his body and the recovery of his lungs. At that point, the respiratory team took on an aggressive ventilator weaning approach which proved successful.

Initially, Smitty began his physical therapy very fatigued and needing maximum assistance for bed mobility. His limited endurance for physical activity left him bed-bound. He often felt anxious and short of breath during sessions. Working in tandem with the respiratory team, nursing, and with encouragement from his family, Smitty began reaching new milestones of improvement.

Before he knew it, Smitty could transfer to a wheelchair with assistance, stand on parallel bars, and take steps. He continued working hard and excelled at his recovery. By the end of his stay, Smitty was completely independent with bed mobility, transferring unassisted to his wheelchair, and walking over 175 feet with a walker. He plans to continue stair training at home. His recovery inspired the staff and showed how someone can overcome setbacks and regain their independence.

Vibra’s non-clinical staff worked closely with Smitty throughout his stay. Case management remained observant while developing his discharge plan, keeping in mind his capabilities in conjunction with his desired outcome. They set him up with home health so he could discharge directly to his home. There, he got all the support he needed to be successful in his recovery.

Several weeks after discharging, Smitty stopped by Vibra to say hello and thank the staff. He has progressed so much and is thriving in his regained independence.