Ralph's Story*

Ralph McKinney smiles in his wheelchair.

Ralph McKinney, age 68, has lived in Las Vegas his entire life and enjoys helping his wife, Barbara, around their home, spending time and playing dominos with his three grown children and watching ESPN. Ralph had a history of circulation issues and previously underwent surgery to relieve swelling and pressure in his left leg. When he awoke one morning with extreme pain in his leg, Barbara took him to the nearest emergency room where the decision was made to perform an above-the-knee amputation on his left leg.

After surgery, Ralph was transferred to Dignity Health Rehabilitation Hospital for further recovery. Upon admission, his primary goal was to, “be a man for my family again and provide for my wife and household.” Ralph arrived unable to transfer safely from his wheelchair to the bed, toilet or shower bench without assistance. He was concerned about how he could contribute at home and help out with cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. Ralph’s customized rehabilitation plan included physical and occupational therapy focused on increasing mobility, as well as education around amputee care to
teach him how to inspect, wrap and shape his limb. His therapists also taught him hip stretches in preparation for a future prosthesis.

Ralph’s physical therapy team used therapy band exercises to strengthen his lower body, an exercise bike to help increase endurance (one of his favorite therapy activities) and a front wheel walker for assistance in walking and transferring from a car to a wheelchair. The occupational therapy team worked with Ralph on gaining independence in his activities of daily living, including showering, dressing and toileting. They also showed him a reaching tool to help with home tasks from a wheelchair level. Additionally, the team conducted family training with Barbara to help her prepare for Ralph’s transition home. After two weeks at Dignity Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Ralph was fully independent with most of his activities of daily living, only requiring guarding assistance with some
tasks. He was able to use the rolling walker and wheelchair for mobility, and felt much more functional and ready to go home.

At discharge, Ralph shared: “I would highly recommend the hospital to others facing a similar recovery journey. You’ll be in the right place. This is the best team.”

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*Patient success stories from across our hospital network.