For This Couple, It’s Rehab By The Book in Southington

In the Hospital of Central Connecticut’s therapy pavilion: from left, Kerri McQuillan (registered (registered play therapist), Arlene Palmer and Dan Palmerand Laurie Lee (physical therapist).
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Dan and Arlene Palmer, avid bibliophiles, met and worked at New Britain Public Library for a combined 51 years and owned their own bookstore/tea shop, Leaves & Pages, for 14 years.

Arlene, a New Britain historian, also wrote three books about the city’s history and together they wrote “And Now We Go…” about their “adventures” at their shop.

Now retired, the couple could add a chapter about Southington Care Center, which they know very well. Arlene was a short-term rehabilitation patient three times following surgeries. And in October, Dan completed outpatient physical therapy after he fell off their back steps, damaging his knee and elbow.

The Palmers’ relationship with Southington Care Center began after Arlene had spinal stenosis surgery at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain campus. The surgeon recommended the Care Center for her aftercare and she was there five weeks recuperating. “Before I had my back done, I couldn’t walk more than 3 feet – even with a walker,” she said. “On the first day [at the Care Center], the occupational therapist came in and in three seconds had me up and sitting on the side of the bed. There was no looking back.”

The rehabilitation therapists developed a regimen that included aquatic and land therapies. “I made huge strides by the time I left,” she said.

Arlene returned for a second, and third, time after each knee surgery. “For my recuperations, I only wanted to go to Southington Care Center. Everyone is so good there – from maintenance to CNAs to RNs. They are all fabulous,” she said.

After the Palmers retired in 2014, they planned to relocate from Burlington, Connecticut to Maine. However, health problems, treatments and subsequent rehab therapy altered that dream. They have decided to stay in this area because of the relationships they have developed with their healthcare providers, including Southington Care Center and their primary care physician, Craig Bogdanski, DO, who is also the assistant medical director there.

The Palmers have become “celebrities” at Southington Care Center with most people greeting them by name, some stopping to chat. Thanks to their successful therapies, the couple is enjoying retirement more because they are more active. They have regained the mobility and stamina to do yard work, visit family in Maine and it is easier to walk to the dock on the lake by their home where they like to relax and read books.

They hope they won’t need further rehabilitation but are comforted in knowing that Southington Care Center is there. “They should name a wing after me,” said Arlene, joking. “I chalk up my healing to Southington Care Center. It really improved my quality of life.”

Southington Care Center, 45 Meriden Ave., offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, and is a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services. For more information, click here.


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