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Santé® of Mesa Therapist Incorporates Sewing into Patient Rehabilitation

The Story of Joan Ward’s Rehabilitation

Retired nurse Joan Ward, spent her career working in healthcare and knowing what constitutes excellent care. When she found herself needing extended inpatient rehabilitation at Santé of Mesa she was emotional about the effort and kindheartedness that her therapists, nurses and staff provided. “My Physical and Occupational therapists are the best bar none that I have ever dealt with and the nurses are all so caring and compassionate,” said Ward. She spent 12 weeks and one day at Santé of Mesa and was faced with losing her income and not being able to continue her sewing and design business. This was all the result of a broken leg that required 11 screws and a plate, preventing her from bearing any weight on it for 12 weeks.


When Joan was first admitted to Santé from the hospital, she was hoping she could go home in a few days, but it was determined she was not safe to return home being non-weight bearing. Ward shares that she was distraught to learn that she could not return to her home and continue her sewing business. However, her Santé rehab team, including Savannah Kafer, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist soon crafted a plan.


Kafer arranged to move the sewing machine, serger and a large amount of fabric to Santé of Mesa to Ward’s room. In addition to doing piecework for Flax Saks, muslin-lined, cloth heating packs, she creates and sews cloth purses and totes. In no time, Ward was sewing again and making purses from the comfort of her Santé room. Her design and production work were an integral part of her mental stimulation, sanity and critical to supplement her income. Having the ability to continue to work helped her to feel like she had a purpose and something to look forward to doing every day as she recovered. It also motivated her to get up and get going every day with a positive attitude.


“Working with Joan was a pleasure. We were able to come up with a creative solution to her concerns. After conferring with the team, we were able to bring her love for sewing to her. In return, she brought a tremendous amount of joy to our staff through her beautiful sewing projects that included handbags and Flax Saks,” said Kafer.


Ward reflects with tears in her eyes on her last day at Santé of Mesa as the staff all lined up and down the hall applauding her recovery as she got ready to leave the facility.

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