Left to right: Vanda Earles, occupational therapist assistant; Doyle Bowlin; Susan Capps, physical therapist assistant; and Remy Prentice, speech therapist

Doyle Bowlin was in the hospital multiple times between February and May of 2019, and his health setbacks weakened him.


Bowlin came to The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, with weakness, cellulitis (a bacterial infection of the skin), neuropathy (loss of feeling in the extremities, pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs) and a subdural hemorrhage (bleeding around the brain).


At first, Bowlin required maximum to total assistance with his self-care activities of daily living, including getting dressed. He needed maximum assistance to walk, stand or transfer from one surface to another. He also needed a lot of help with grooming and had difficulty with cognition, speaking, understanding language and swallowing.


All three therapy disciplines worked with Bowlin to increase his level of independence. Physical therapy addressed his mobility and balance, and PTs taught him dynamic and proprioception exercises to perform while seated or standing. They helped him regain strength in his legs and eventually did gait training with a walker. Occupational therapists helped him with reach and his activities of daily living. And speech therapists used gentle thermal stimulation and oral/motor exercises to help him speak and swallow again.


“Doyle is a very motivated individual,” said Susan Capps, physical therapist assistant. “He worked hard during therapy sessions and even in his room throughout the day. He realized homework is just as important as his therapy sessions to reach the top of the ladder. He worked hard to tackle his trials and has succeeded to return home with his wife and two dogs. Doyle has a special place in our hearts.”


When Bowlin went home on Aug. 1 with home health, he was able to take care of himself with supervision or setup assistance. He could walk up to 200 feet with a walker with someone holding on to him and was able to communicate normally. His swallowing improved to where he could eat a mechanical soft diet, such as eggs and soft cooked vegetables, and drink normal liquids.


“Therapy has got me so I can walk and talk again,” Bowlin said. “I hate to leave you all. I’ll miss everyone.”