Former Patient and Stroke Survivor Gives Back to Residents at Beaumont at Worcester

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Kelly O’Day, a former patient at Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center at Worcester, now works for the community part-time as an engagement coordinator.

O’Day suffered a debilitating stroke in early 2014. In addition to the physical effects of the stroke, she experienced mild aphasia, or difficulty in understanding or using words, and apraxia, which results in difficulty making speech movements.

“I was hospitalized for almost four months,” explains O’Day. She stayed at Beaumont at Worcester for six weeks; where she went through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and continued the services on an outpatient basis.

Reflecting back on her recovery, O’Day says, “It was a really good experience. Even though I was ready to go home after such a long time, the services and the staff were so wonderful.”

Once O’Day returned home, “The hard work of outpatient rehabilitation services began.” After about a year into the recovery process, O’Day started to think about “how to give back to the people that were so special to me.”

“I eventually returned to Beaumont at Worcester as a volunteer and helped with bingo; I wanted to work with numbers because I was still struggling with that as a result of my stroke,” says O’Day. “During bingo, I would simultaneously help other residents, while helping myself, and I really started to know and love them.”

O’Day eventually started working at Beaumont at Worcester part-time in the engagement department.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job has been the opportunity to speak with other stroke survivors; I know what they’ve been through, and I can talk them through their experiences. It’s been wonderful,” states O’Day.

Engagement Director at Beaumont at Worcester, Christine Giguere, shares, “Kelly has been amazing. She’s been so helpful with the residents, and her story is so important.”

Prior to her stroke and current part-time work, O’Day worked in healthcare senior management for 30 years at various organizations including a rehabilitation and adaptive equipment company, national infusion therapy organization, as well as a national long-term care pharmacy. “I was in everything,” explains O’Day. “But I never had the opportunity to volunteer. Now that I’m retired and can do this work part-time, it’s been great.”

“I love the residents,” concludes O’Day. “It’s all about giving back to the place and people that helped me and encouraging others through their similar experiences.”

Since 1952, SALMON Health and Retirement has been serving Central Massachusetts. SALMON’s Beaumont at Worcester community became the nation’s first COVID-19 recovery center for seniors. To learn more about SALMON’s continuum of care with services on multiple campuses and the way in which the organization is fighting COVID-19 head-on, visit www.SalmonHealth.com or call (508) 755-9731.