Physio restores dreams of ‘walking in the park’

No shortage of success stories in long-term care

For one Forest Hill resident, physiotherapy was a key element in breaking the sentence of forever having to use wheelchair.

For another, it offered the chance to return to activity after a knee replacement.

Still another faced giving up garden walks with her sister, until exercise and strategic physio services strengthened her body, and also her confidence, in walking.

These are just a few of the stories from Forest Hill in Kanata.

“We have lots of them,” says registered physiotherapist Andy Natarajan.

One of the most dramatic though is a woman who broke her hip. Following the surgery, it was evident to most that she would be using a wheelchair for the rest of her life. But some strategically designed exercises and careful monitoring of goals got her back on her feet. Now she is independent with a walker.

“Nobody expected that, not even family,” Natarajan says.

Another very active resident found herself in a predicament when she needed a knee replacement.

“All of a sudden she couldn’t go out, and that was really important to her,” Natarajan says, adding that exercise and, again, careful monitoring of goals, helped her regain her independence.

“She says now that it got her back her independence,” he says.

There are other stories, like the patient who likes to walk in the garden with her sister. Both have Huntington ’s disease, and spending the garden time together is important for many reasons. Unfortunately, for a time, one of the sisters had such difficulty with balance that she couldn’t walk without assistance. Now, though, through strengthening and balancing exercise, the sisters are again, walking together in the garden.

“Patients in long-term care have a major problem,” Natarajan says. “When we get old, we become deconditioned, our balance goes off, and we are at risk of falls. Everyone is different. So individualized treatment plans for each resident that are focussed and goal-oriented are crucial.”

This is one in a series of physiotherapy-related stories from our homes. If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, or feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at  800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)