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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Madonna’s family-centered care propels Nebraska woman’s recovery

August 24, 2023

Grace Powell’s life revolved around training horses, working cows and being a mom to her 10-month-old daughter, Kenslie.

Then a June 2023 car accident changed everything. Grace remained in a coma for roughly 30 days at CHI Bergan Mercy and sustained broken bones in her knee, hips, tailbone, neck and ribs.

“One of the doctors came in and said ‘With the amount of stuff that happened to your head, you shouldn’t be able to talk or eat or really do anything on your own,’” Grace recalled. “She said, ‘It’s amazing how far you’ve come because of this.’”

The 21-year-old from Hyannis, Nebraska, entered into Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals’ major multiple trauma and brain injury programs. She was determined to regain her independence and return home as soon as possible to take care of her daughter again.

Through daily physician visits from a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, coupled with intense physical and occupational therapies, Grace learned how to navigate the world from a wheelchair as her body healed from her injuries.

At Madonna, we provide a family-centered approach to patient care and rehabilitation. Family housing allowed Grace’s mother, Mindy, and daughter to be near and actively participate in Grace’s daily therapy sessions. During Grace’s two-week recovery, Mindy and Kenslie stayed in one of the eight, on-site studio apartments at the Woods House on Madonna’s Lincoln Campus.

“Grace and Mindy immediately problem-solved home management opportunities and what they were preparing for at home and Grace’s needs,” Inpatient Physical Therapy Clinical Director, Sarah Koebernick, MPT, GCS, said. “It was easy to engage her in parenting skills with Kenslie, with adaptive strategies to care for her independently. Grace was receptive to child care techniques from the bed, floor and wheelchair to care for Kenslie.”

Additionally , Madonna’s approach to family-centered care provided Grace with a much-needed source of comfort and support.

“I think having Kenslie here calmed me down a lot,” Grace said. “It’s really motivated me to just get better so I could be a mom again and take care of her on my own and not rely on so many people.”

Grace quickly progressed in her transfers in and out of her wheelchair and her balance. She also had good awareness of how much weight she could put on her legs and was guided in a few techniques for carrying her daughter while managing the wheelchair and eventually use of a walker.

In occupational therapy, Grace first worked through basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing. Eventually, she relearned instrumental activities of daily living, such as cooking and doing laundry, from a wheelchair level in Madonna’s therapy kitchen and laundry room. Grace, Mindy and Kenslie also took an outing to Target to gain some practice in real-life skills.

“Grace is an amazing mother with so much love and patience,” Koebernick said. “Her demeanor and adaptability are characteristics that support her solutions to manage parenting an active and energetic 10-month-old.”

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