Inpatient Rehabilitation Empowers Melisa’s Stroke Recovery, Rekindling Her Passion for Salsa Dancing

Melisa Barbee and her spouse were traveling from Panama back to the United States in early January 2023, when she began to feel dizzy and short of breath. Mr. Barbee took her to Inova Emergency Room – HealthPlex Lorton, where she was soon diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms, cardiac arrests, and multiple strokes. The high quality and compassate care at Inova Fairfax Hospital’s intensive care and step-down units medically stabilized her to begin her recovery journey.

She arrived at the Inova Mount Vernon Hospital acute rehabilitation department on February 6, requiring total physical assistance for all activities of daily living. She required a lift and assistance to move out of bed, had trouble with her vision, and struggled with problem-solving and higher-level thinking skills.

When our team asked Mrs. Barbee what mattered most in her recovery journey, she told us, “To salsa dance with my husband when I leave here!” Mrs. Barbee’s interdisciplinary team went to work to create an individualized treatment program that included high-intensity gait training, robotic-assisted therapy, cognitive re-training, and routine nursing schedules to help Mrs. Barbee meet her personalized goals.

With her family’s love and support, Mrs. Barbee not only pushed through but exceeded her goals. By week 6 in rehab, she was jogging with physical therapy, completing activities of daily living (ADL) tasks independently with occupational therapy, organizing a grocery trip on a community outing with speech and recreational therapy, and managing her health needs with her physician and nursing teams!

Just like she planned, she salsa-danced her way out of inpatient rehabilitation.

As a team here at Inova, we are incredibly proud and honored to have been a part of Mrs. Barbee’s health journey.

Special thank you to:
Sea Kim, Physiatrist
Michele Thornley, CM

Entire day & night shift nursing teams on 5C Rehab (honorable mentions):
Zaid Kelib-Kidane
Patricia A. RN
Felicia O, CT
Makeda Jackson, OT
Katelyn Scheulen, PT
Elena Finer, SLP
Theodore Denning, TR
Khyla Anderson, Music Therapy

The world-class rehabilitation team at Inova helps people reclaim independent, active lives after an accident, injury, or illness. Learn more about our specialized rehabilitation services.

1 Comment

  1. Sue on September 13, 2023 at 9:31 am

    What an amazing story of treatment and recovery! It’s inspiring to know what is possible in the most serious of cases. Great job to all those at Inova for taking care of this patient throughout her entire journey.

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