A life-changing injury or illness impacts not only the patient but their family, friends and loved ones must also adapt to a new normal. Having a strong support system during this difficult time can help improve patient outcomes.
On April 23, 2022, 20-year-old Kory Kock was injured in a head-on car accident while on his way home from work. After nearly a month in the intensive care unit at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he came to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals. His family never left his side.
“Luckily for Kory, he grew up with two teachers in the family,” Alyssa Kock, Kory’s sister, said. “While no one ever wants this to happen, it really was the best possible timing because my mom and I both have the summer off to be with him.”
Madonna encourages family participation in therapy as part of its holistic approach to care. The hospital believes in treating the whole patient, mentally and physically, as well as the whole family.
“Promoting family involvement in therapy sessions benefits both the patient and their loved ones,” Abby McClure, an occupational therapist at Madonna, said. “The patient gets encouragement from those familiar faces, the caregivers get hands-on training and we as therapists get additional insight into what motivates the patient and what they were like prior to their injury.”
For Kory, having his family around meant constant reassurance about the gains he has made and will continue to make in his recovery. It also meant extra therapy time. His mom and sister carried over things learned during therapy into the time between sessions. They even purchased some of the games he played in occupational therapy to use at home and continue to build on the foundation created at Madonna.
“We’re fully supporting him, and I think it helps him to know that we believe he can do all these things and that he is strong enough,” Alyssa said. “This is the most confidence I’ve seen from him, so this is the coolest thing for me, to see him grow as a person and not only be able to do those physical things again but mentally become a lot stronger as well.”
With hands-on training from their Madonna care team, the entire Kock family says they feel confident in Kory’s transition back to his life roles as they return home to Alvord, Iowa.
“I’m happy, and it’s going to be fun, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking at the same time,” Kory said. “I really liked my therapists, and I could joke with them.”
“Same for me; it will be an adjustment,” Deb Kock, Kory’s mom, said. “But, that’s another thing I learned from the therapists. I know what to look for to help him, but I have also known that he has learned how to take care of himself and get on the road to independence so I’m not as nervous as I was when I first came.”