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Jean Cook

Jean Cook

Pulmonary & Transitional Rehabilitation VIP

When Bill Cook entered his mother, Jean Cook’s, home and found her lying on the floor, he knew that her health was in dire straits. Bill immediately called emergency services, and Jean was taken to Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, where she was treated for a severe case of bacterial pneumonia and sepsis. Due to Jean’s condition, she was placed on a ventilator to assist with her breathing. After three months of acute care at Immanuel, Jean was transferred to Select Specialty Hospital and remained in their care for a little over two months. During that time, Jean underwent surgery to repair a large hiatal hernia and was treated for MRSA pneumonia.

On June 16, 2016, Jean admitted to the pulmonary specialty care unit at Ambassador Health of Lincoln. At the time of admission, Jean required total assistance from the nursing, respiratory, and therapy care teams. “When Jean first admitted to Ambassador Health, she was not able to communicate and she could only move her fingers,” stated Jessica Broeker, Pulmonary Unit Manager. “Her prognosis was not good.”

Although Jean had a long road ahead of her, her team of caregivers remained hopeful for her recovery. “The physical, occupational, and speech therapy team began working with Jean from the time of her admission,” explained Kristy Oberg, Director of Therapy Services. “We had to balance Jean’s delicate medical needs, all while pushing her limits to increase her strength and endurance.”

Due to the amount of time that Jean had spent lying in a hospital bed, she had lost the ability to move and control her extremities. Physical therapy focused on getting Jean to be able to tolerate activities while sitting at the edge of her bed. Treatment then progressed to standing exercises and eventually to mobilization. “I was terrified during my time with therapy because I felt as though I had no control,” expressed Jean Cook. “It is so hard to feel out of control when you’re not used to that feeling. But I soon realized that when I forced my body to move, my brain started working again as well.”

In addition to the progression that Jean was experiencing with her therapy team, her respiratory therapists were also working to wean Jean off the ventilator. “We kept encouraging Jean to take baby steps and to keep a positive outlook,” said Kevin Crable, Respiratory Therapy Director. “We knew that Jean had it in her and we did our best to continually remind her what she was capable of accomplishing.”

On November 9, 2016, Jean celebrated being off the ventilator for 14 full days. Later that month, Jean’s tracheostomy was removed and she experienced a freedom that she didn’t know was possible. “I was elated to finally be off the ventilator,” stated Cook. “The only downside to coming off the ventilator was that I knew my days on the pulmonary unit were numbered, and these people had become my family.”

Jean continued to work with her therapy team and progressed to the point where she could walk half a mile a day, ride the NuStep for 20 minutes at level 10, and ambulate independently with her rollator walker. “Jean’s drive to get back to her prior level of independence was a key driver in her recovery,” said Oberg.
Once Jean transitioned off of the pulmonary unit, the next step in her recovery was to move to a lower level of care. “My goal was to assist Jean in finding the best living arrangement possible, as well as to tap into all of the resources available to her,” explained Robin Pickett, Social Services Associate. “It was a privilege to support and serve as an advocate for Jean throughout her stay and ultimately to see her reach her goal of returning to her home city.” On February 5, 2018, Jean moved to St. Joseph Villa assisted living in Omaha, Nebraska.

“I owe my life to the nurses, therapists, social services, and the entire team here at Ambassador,” expressed Cook. “I’m leaving behind my family at Ambassador Health, but I’m ready for this next step.”

Jean received individualized care from the nurses, therapists, and respiratory team found on the Pulmonary Specialty Care unit. Learn more about Ambassador Health's ventilator and pulmonary care.