Left to right: Jason Moore, physical therapist; Jonathan Ballard; Remy Prentice, speech therapist; and Faith Isaacs, occupational therapist

Jonathan Ballard came to The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, completely dependent.


A brain bleed had left the 42-year-old father of two with severe deficits in cognition, language skills, mobility and self-care. He arrived at the skilled nursing and rehab center on May 30, 2019, to begin the journey of turning those outcomes around. He needed total assistance for bed mobility and transfers and was on a feeding tube, unable to swallow.


Ballard took part in physical therapy seven days a week to work on strengthening, balance and mobility. Occupational therapy six days a week retrained him in how to take care of everyday tasks like brushing his hair, bathing and getting dressed.


Five days a week, speech therapists worked with Ballard on cognition and language, from problem-solving and speaking to understanding others’ speech. They also used VitalStim® electrical stimulation to teach him how to swallow safely again.


“Jonathan has made great strides while he has been here,” said Faith Isaacs, occupational therapist. “He always has a great attitude and faces any challenge head-on. He has done a great job.”


Ballard is now off his feeding tube and eating and drinking normally again. His cognition, language skills and self-care have all improved markedly, and he can walk about 1,000 feet at a time with a cane and someone beside him to steady him.


“Therapy has helped me in a lot of ways,” said Ballard. “It has given me my strength back, helped me take care of myself again, get rid of my feeding tube and get me to where I can walk with my walker. The people here are good and care about their patients. They work you hard to get you to a place where you can do what you want to do.”


Ballard returned home on July 1 and is returning for outpatient therapy to continue his progress.