When Karen Sewell arrived at New Community Extended Care Facility, she was in poor health. She had experienced two massive heart attacks, a brain aneurysm and a stroke. She had been at University Hospital for one year and spent three months in a coma.
She also underwent surgery that required rehabilitation.
“They cut out part of my skull to get to my bleeding brain,” she said. “I knew I would need therapy after that.”
When she left University Hospital, Sewell spent some time at a couple of other facilities before transferring to Extended Care in March. The New Community facility is closer to her family members.
Upon arrival at Extended Care, Sewell was unable to care for herself because of weakness. But through physical therapy and care, she regained her self-sufficiency and is being discharged in September to an independent apartment at New Community Manor Senior.
Extended Care Administrator Veronica Onwunaka said Sewell’s outlook and belief in herself and the facility was a big part of her recovery.
“She has a very positive attitude and believed in and trusted our care. And together with family support, we were all able to achieve this positive outcome. We believe she will be well in the community,” Onwunaka said. “It has been a pleasure to have her as a patient.”
Sewell is grateful for the care she has received and specifically highlighted her nurse, Maria Cruz.
“I can go to talk to her about anything. She’ll keep me on the straight and narrow,” Sewell said. “She just wants me to do better.”
The road hasn’t always been easy for Sewell. She said there were times, particularly at the start of her recovery, when she wanted to give up. Talking to her four sons kept her going and when she started feeling better, that motivated her to continue with her treatment.
Staff members at Extended Care were also instrumental in her recovery.
“This is the best facility I’ve been to,” Sewell said.
Sewell is a lifelong Newark resident. Three of her sons live in Newark and one is in South Jersey. Her sister and aunt also live in Manor Senior so she has family support nearby to help her as she transitions back to independent living.
At 54 years old, Sewell has had a difficult journey and she’s anxious about the transition, but she is happy to be starting the next chapter of her life.
“I’ve been through a whole lot, but I feel pretty good,” she said.