Daniel Dunegan surrounded by his care team

A heart attack and bypass surgery left Daniel Dunegan feeling weak and in pain.


Dunegan came to Life Care Center of Waynesville, Missouri, on March 13, 2017, for rehabilitation. When he arrived, he needed assistance with walking, transferring from one surface to another and balancing while standing. He also had some difficulty getting in and out of bed, grooming and eating a regular diet.


Physical and occupational therapists worked with Dunegan six days a week to help him recover and manage his congestive heart failure, and speech therapists worked with him three days a week to improve his eating ability.


Dunegan did a lot of specially chosen exercises in physical therapy to increase his strength and stamina at a heart-healthy level. He used the Omnicycle to exercise his full body, and therapists taught him balance skills, proper breathing techniques, pacing and energy conservation. They monitored his heart rate, blood pressure and the oxygenation of his blood throughout his stay. Occupational therapists also taught him compensatory techniques and retrained him on his activities of daily living.


“When I got here, I couldn’t even lift my arms, couldn’t lift my legs up off the floor,” Dunegan remembered. “The therapists are all wonderful people, and they helped me tremendously. They always have a smile on their faces, and that’s a major part of healing. It’s because of therapy I’m going home.”


Dunegan went home with full independence on April 5.