Left to Right: Remy Prentice, speech language pathologist; Lora Bradley, physical therapist assistant; Bryan Gratz; and Crystal Lyall, occupational therapist assistant

After a stroke, Bryan Gratz experienced paralysis and weakness, called hemiplegia and hemiparesis, in the entire right side of his body that seriously limited his independence in a variety of ways.


Gratz had no mobility or balance, even with a wheelchair, and he was unable to perform any self-care tasks like bathing or dressing without extensive assistance. He could not swallow, except for certain types of puree, and was fed through a PEG tube. He also had difficulty understanding and communicating with others.


Gratz was admitted to The Heritage Center, in Morristown, Tennessee on Jan. 1, 2019 for physical, occupational and speech therapies.


Physical therapy utilized strengthening exercises and equipment, such as electrical stimulation and vibration machines, to improve Gratz’s mobility and balance, while occupational therapy focused on teaching him the safest and most effective ways to perform hygiene and self-care tasks independently. Speech therapy used special training and equipment to help Gratz regain his ability to communicate, swallow safely and feed himself.


Upon completion of his therapies, Gratz had regained his balance and could use a wheelchair and walker to move around and transfer in and out of his bed. He could perform all of his activities of daily living, requiring only supervision or minimal assistance with some of them. He could swallow and feed himself with complete safety, and he had his feeding tube removed. He could also communicate more effectively and better understand others who were speaking to him.


“The nurses did a really good job caring for me,” said Gratz. “They taught me to walk and talk again. They were all super friendly and loved me. I loved staying here. Thanks to all you guys!”


Gratz completed therapy on March 11 and went home to be with his wife.