Angel Knight: A short-term rehabilitation patient story

Hillcrest Healthcare offers a comprehensive portfolio of services and therapies, including short-term rehabilitation. When Angel Knight came to Beverly Park in June 2022, she already had overcome almost insurmountable odds to be alive. When she left five weeks later, she had the strength and tools needed to function better at home.

Angel contracted COVID on Aug. 25, 2021. She went to the doctor, but with no preexisting conditions, her case didn’t raise any red flags. She went to a hospital on Sept. 1, was admitted on oxygen and, within five days, was in complete respiratory failure and on a ventilator.

Angel Knight

Other than having the serious Delta strain, there were no other obvious reasons why Angel got so sick. She had to have a tracheotomy and a feeding tube and was the last patient that survived the ICU at that hospital before it closed the dedicated COVID ICU floor.

She moved to Select Specialty Hospital – North Knoxville, a critical illness recovery hospital, where she was weaned from the ventilator and able to come off it Dec. 23, 2021. Angel woke up with a lot of neurological issues, including drop foot, drop wrist, severe neuropathy, radial nerve damage and a stage four sacral wound. The hospital was able to keep her from having four toes amputated that had turned necrotic. “The staff there kept telling me what a miracle I was, and that I had no idea what a miracle it was that I was alive,” she shares.

After six months at a rehabilitation center in Chattanooga, she reached out to Franklin & Kyle Elder Law, which helped Angel with her Medicaid status, Social Security and disability. She needed additional therapy, and an elder care coordinator at Franklin & Kyle took her story to Lavonda Cantrell, director of marketing for Hillcrest Healthcare and vice president of the Hillcrest Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation supports needs of those served in Hillcrest Healthcare communities and provided Angel with access to essential services, including short-term rehabilitation, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

“Lavonda immediately said ‘Yes! This is what our foundation is for,’ she called me, I got referral and insurance approval and went to Beverly Park for rehabilitation in June 2022,” Angel says. “I was supported by the Hillcrest Healthcare Foundation, and it was a blessing and a miracle.”

Angel was there for five weeks, and she learned to walk again with the help of a modified walker and worked on functional activities of daily living (ADL) therapy to learn ways to take care of herself. “They helped me work with the mobility that I have,” she shares.

“I loved the environment at Beverly Park. I had a private room. A young lady came to visit me every day and bring me activities that I could do with limited hand dexterity. The atmosphere was cheery and serene. And my caregivers! I can’t say enough about them. The CNAs were amazing, and I had some of the best. They were so sweet and kind and attentive,” she remembers.

Lavonda adds, “She is one of the most courageous and inspiring people I have had the opportunity to meet. I am so thankful the foundation was able to help Angel and be a small part of her recovery journey.”

Today, Angel is at home and does four hours of therapy each week – still working on strength and stamina. She has one more surgery on the horizon to repair the damage from the sacral wound. Her daughter, sister and brother-in-law provide a good support system.

“I’m here, I’m blessed,” Angel says. “If you’re in a situation where you need a rehab facility like Hillcrest, have faith in what they can do for you and trust their abilities. I don’t know where I’d be right now without that support. The most important thing is don’t give up!”

If you or a loved one needs skilled nursing, extended care or rehabilitation services, please contact Hillcrest Healthcare. Our three Knoxville communities are here to advocate for your needs.