Left to right: Ariel McFadden, occupational therapist assistant; Amanda Gosnell, speech therapist; Lorraine Wooley; and Anna White, and Jayne Zampa, physical therapist assistants

Lorraine Wooley was touring Germany on a river cruise when her European vacation took an unexpected turn.


Wooley had a stroke and spent three days in a German hospital before flying home. She seemed to be doing OK until her body responded to a very high guitar note at church. She left the church weak and soon had almost no use of her left side.


After a stay at a Chattanooga, Tennessee, hospital, Wooley had a few months of rehabilitation ahead of her before she could live at home with her husband again.


Wooley came to Life Care Center of Cleveland, Tennessee, in March 2019 needing two people to help her get out of bed. Physical therapists started working with her on strengthening and mobility, beginning with sitting up, while occupational therapists addressed her self-care skills. These therapists used electrical stimulation to help bring back her affected nerves. Speech therapists trained her in swallowing, which had also been impacted by the stroke.


Speech therapy was the first discipline Wooley completed, going from a modified diet of pureed foods and thickened liquids to eating and drinking normally again. The day she was able to enjoy regular ice water was a highlight for her.


Wooley’s therapists and her husband, Jerry, cheered on her progress. Jerry came to see her almost every day. Gradually, Wooley was able to relearn life skills such as standing, transferring from one surface to another, getting dressed, bathing and more.


“Lorraine has always been motivated to participate in therapy,” said Anna White, physical therapist assistant. “She’s come a long way.”


“I can get up and down and walk some with a walker,” Wooley said. “I’m most thankful for the people here and what they’ve done. The certified nursing assistants and therapists are all great.”


Therapists did a home evaluation with Wooley at the end of June and recommended ways she can adapt her home environment to increase her independence there. Friends from her church helped build a ramp in her garage so she can bypass her house’s steep stairs.


Wooley was able to return home with home health therapy services on June 30.