Ben Armstrong, center, with his therapy team

On March 19, 2018, Ben Armstrong came to Life Care Center of Elizabethton, Tennessee, for rehabilitation.


Armstrong had suffered from respiratory failure as a result of a hole in his esophagus. He also had kidney failure. When he arrived, he was on a feeding tube and needed maximum assistance with all of his activities of daily living, such as bathing, getting dressed and grooming. He also needed two people to help him get out of bed.


“I was blessed to be in this facility and get the care,” said Armstrong. “In the beginning, I didn’t think I was going home and was very depressed. The excellent rehab team helped me and pushed me and believed in me.”


Speech therapists used VitalStim®, electrical stimulation applied to the throat and mouth areas, to help Armstrong relearn how to swallow properly. They tried him on different consistencies of food as he was able to swallow better until finally he was able to eat and drink normally again.


Physical and occupational therapists used the Neurogym® trainer, as well as the NuStep® and Omnicycle® exercise machines, to help Armstrong regain strength in his upper and lower body.


On May 31, Armstrong returned home with family, able to walk up to 350 feet with a walker and take care of his self-care with modified independence.