Meet Patrick Murtagh, a man who came to Banner Health needing physical therapy, occupational therapy and Home Health Aide care. Mr. Murtagh was admitted with cellulitis – and several other life-threatening issues that were affecting his quality of life.
Mr. Murtagh also needed a cane to walk. Yet, he kept a strong spirit that stood out to his whole team – especially Jenn Beaty, a Banner Health physical therapist.
Jenn began her visits with a specific course of treatment in mind. This would center around exercises that focused on strength in sitting and standing because Mr. Murtagh had a moderate risk of falling.
As she began her course of treatment, she discussed his goals and what he hoped to accomplish in their time together. That’s when Mr. Murtagh and his wife, Marguerite, really perked up. They told Jenn that what would really make them happy is if he could dance again. They shared that they were both ballroom dancers. The pair would do shows for local nursing facilities and competitions. They even have a dance floor inside their garage for practicing. You could even say Marguerite herself is a local celebrity – she is a member of the Golden Grannies, a senior dance group with the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Rattlers.
From then on, Jenn knew she needed to create a way for this shared goal to be met. Instead of just focusing on the strength, balance became a necessary goal. Jenn focused his standing balance activities with more weight shifting and movement in all directions – to correlate with the movements in dancing.
Jenn continued her hard-work and when she went over for a visit Mr. Murtagh was ready to dance. His wife started playing music, and Jenn stood up with the patient and worked on dancing with him – see pictured.
Elizabeth Zdunek, Jenn’s supervisor, was present for the last visit and moved to tears at what she saw. She said that immediately as they started dancing Mrs. Murtagh pulled out old pictures of the couple dancing together. She expressed what a difference Jenn was making in their lives and how amazed they were at how much he had improved. They couldn’t believe how much joy Jenn brought by incorporating what he loved into her visits and exercise program.
In the end, Mr. Murtagh did improve his strength greatly and regained his balance. He even progressed to not needing a cane and the ability to slow dance. Marguerite has plans for him to remain active and take Tai Chi classes for his balance. More recently, she reports that they are very active with multiple senior shows planned together.
With the incredible work from Banner Health physical therapist, Jenn Beaty, and the rest of Mr. Murtagh’s team, he didn’t have to give up his passion just yet. Click here to watch Patrick and Marguerite dance together again.