Posted: May 26, 2021

This month, we’re celebrating the role that physiotherapists play in the lives of patients at Grand River Hospital. Physiotherapists (PTs) are essential members of our team! At GRH, PTs primarily focus on rehabilitation – that is – helping patients maintain their level of physical function, and sometimes recover ability they may have lost because of illness or injury. Physiotherapists can help improve the quality of life and health outcomes of patients in really important ways.

Ron Spitzig came to physiotherapy care at Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Campus following a back surgery. Unfortunately, after the surgery he developed an infection. He and his wife Charlotte reflect on his recent care experience at GRH.

“Everything went well, until one morning [about two weeks after the surgery] I couldn’t stand up” Ron says. This infection meant Ron needed to use a wheelchair, and his physician thought he might not be able to walk again.

As he recovered from the infection, he stayed at Freeport Campus, and then in a long-term care facility. Finally, he was well enough to go home – but he still needed a wheelchair to get around. To help him recover as much function as possible, he started physiotherapy appointments at Freeport Campus twice a week.

Physiotherapist Karen Guha
Karen Guha, Physiotherapist

“Karen Guha was my main therapist,” Ron says. “Karen was an amazing therapist – but every therapist that worked with me seemed to grasp my situation very well, even if they hadn’t worked with me before, and were good all around.”

Ron’s wife, Charlotte, was a big part of Ron’s support system as he went to physiotherapy. She says one great thing was that at each appointment, the physiotherapist would ask if Ron if he had any problems to discuss or any questions. “For example, at one appointment they demonstrated how to best get up from a fall, just in case.” She said. “They were also fun and always ready to joke around. One joke was that Ron would be doing the exercise, and when he got to the assigned number they would say ‘oh, I forgot to count’ [to get him to squeeze in a few more repetitions].”

Ron Spitzig, following physiotherapy at GRH
Ron, pictured with his walking stick following physiotherapy at GRH

As he worked with Karen and the other physiotherapists, Ron gradually started to regain some ability to walk. Today, he no longer needs the wheelchair, and can manage on his own with the aid of walking sticks. He credits physiotherapy with his recovery, even when he was told he may never walk again.

“Physiotherapy really made a big difference for my life” Ron said, “And I can’t say enough good things about the team at Freeport - they really exceeded my expectations”.