When Richard Stone, 67, returned home from the hospital after successfully winning his battle with COVID-19, he knew his road to recovery was still going to be a long one.

He had an extended stay at Baptist Health Richmond where he was intubated at one point.

When he returned home for the first time, Stone said just walking from the car to the doorway of his home exhausted him.

His wife Carla, 61, who had previously been treated at Richmond KORT Physical Therapy for a different condition, called the office to see if there was any rehabilitation that could recondition her husband to help him do the things he loved.

Luckily, there was.

At the onset of the pandemic, a multidisciplinary team within the KORT company began to look at a program which would help those who had become deconditioned due to COVID-19. They quickly developed their Recovery and Reconditioning program.

According to Derek Stewart, a physical therapist for KORT in Richmond, the program was developed and expanded from existing programs that address people who have become deconditioned from prolonged illness such as COVID-19.

“It is expanding on knowledge that we have as physical therapists, to successfully and efficiently treat these people,” he said.

In doing so, staff at the office help patients to monitor their reduced oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure.

The rehabilitation program then uses different exercises for different patients based on their needs and what activities they want to get back to doing.

Although each case is different, he said, the program features endurance, strength and balance training.

“Depending on what they had the most trouble with, we can focus on that and work their way up,” he said.

And while the program was created as a response for the coronavirus’ effect on those it infects, Stewart said the program can be used to help others not directly impacted by COVID-19.

The program can assist any patient that has had an extended hospital stay from an illness.

“A lot of people think when they get home from the hospital they are recovered, but really the road to recovery is just beginning,” he said. “Oftentimes during an extended stay, you are likely just laying in the hospital bed, and some can become really weak and debilitated.”

Secondly, the program can be used for those who may not have even been sick, but have become weak from staying inside for quarantine.

“They are maybe not staying as active and as a result of that, they can become deconditioned and not be able to do things they were once able to do,” he said.

It was coronavirus that brought Stone to the office and treated by Stewart for the last several months.

“He worked really hard and did everything that I asked him to do,” Stewart said. “I think it was his dedication to get better which is what made him recover as well as he did.”

Stone agreed and stated Stewart was quick to get him to work.

“By the end of physical therapy, I saw dramatic improvements in my overall physical condition and returned to nearly 100% of my pre-COVID-19 levels,” Stone stated. “I had complete confidence in Derek to get me to reach my goals, and that confidence was justified.”

For more information, visit KORT.com or contact 800-645-KORT (5678).

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