Left to right: Kimberly Fortney, speech therapist; Erin Thompson, occupational therapist; Wanda Webb; and Cayce Weekley, physical therapist

Wanda Webb, a Chattanooga, Tennessee resident, suffered a basal ganglia stroke this spring and came to Life Care Center of Red Bank in Chattanooga on April 26, 2018.


When Webb arrived, she needed total assistance with all mobility and most of her activities of daily living. She was unable to swallow and was on a feeding tube. In addition to the stroke, her condition was complicated by Lewy body dementia, one of the most common types of non-Alzheimer’s dementia. It is the result of Lewy bodies that build up in areas of the brain that cause loss of function and degeneration of the brain.


Physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Webb to help her regain as much independence as possible.


The physical therapy team focused on helping her with mobility. They used functional reeducation techniques, as well as electrical stimulation and manual therapy, to help her regain range of motion. As she was able to start walking more, they used the LiteGait machine, which lets patients walk on a treadmill while securely fastened in a harness to relieve weight and pressure on the joints while practicing their gait. They also used the Omnicycle® exercise machine to work out her upper and lower body at the same time and increase coordination.


The OT team worked with Webb extensively on trunk control and sitting balance, as well as tasks involving the use of her arms. They helped her practice and improve her grip strength and grasp, as well as using adaptive equipment to make her self-feeding easier.


Speech therapists used a variety of different strategies to help Webb safely swallow food and liquids. They also worked with her on her language skills.


Webb’s family got involved in her rehabilitation as well and learned how to help take care of her at home.


On Sept. 7, Webb was able to move in with one of her daughters. She can now swallow and take care of her grooming tasks with supervision and can dress herself with minimum assistance. Her daughters are also equipped to help her with walking, transferring from one surface to another, standing and bathing.