Acute Rehabilitation Center: Close to Home

When Charlie Halsell, a local photographer and father of five young children, sustained multiple life-threatening injuries from a terrible motorcycle accident, he needed exceptional medical care. After a month and a half at a trauma center in Fresno, he had to decide where to go to continue his therapy. He wanted to be with near his family, and he also knew that he needed the best care possible. With AGCH so close to home, he decided to come to the Acute Rehabilitation Center where he stayed for two weeks with his family by his side, before returning home.

While in the Acute Rehabilitation Center, Charlie had to relearn basic life skills including how to walk, brush his teeth, shower, and change his clothes. He also had to regain his strength with special exercises. “I thought I’d be compromising the quality of care that I would receive in order to be near my kids, but it was actually the opposite. It was a wonderful surprise – I received better care there than anywhere else I’ve been. You get the small town attention with the big city quality,” said Charlie.

Thankfully, his children were able to visit him daily after school. “They really made themselves at home, getting snacks and making themselves comfortable whenever they’d come to visit. It was great.” They also learned from doctors and nurses how they could help take care of their father when it was time for him to go home – including keeping pathways clear around the house and keeping up on their chores. 

Since returning home, he has been able to get back to work as a photographer, where much of his work involves creating virtual tours of restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses.

The rehabilitation and recovery experience has been life-changing for Charlie. “[Before the accident] I wasn’t very empathetic; I didn’t have much sympathy for people in pain. I didn’t understand it, and I’m so grateful to be able to understand better when people are going through something like this. Every breath I take, everything I see – it’s a gift.”

The hospital will soon be able to increase its range of services with the future expansion that will be made possible through the Legacy Campaign.  This expansion will include a larger gymnasium; physical, occupational, and speech therapy rooms; and the ability to broaden the scope of therapies and services offered at this unique center – the only one of its kind within a 100-mile radius.

Charlie added, “I think it’s very much worth expanding and getting new equipment for the hospital as a whole. The quality of the staff is so high – now it’s about getting the right tools in the hands of the staff, and nobody will ever have to drive far away for care. For anyone who reads this, before they put in the time and expense to travel to places like UCLA or Stanford, they should know that they will not be compromising on quality at all by staying at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.”