Tracy Bolton surrounded by her care team

“On Oct. 9, 2017, around 4:15 p.m., my life changed forever,” said Tracy Bolton, a 50-year-old mother of two teenagers.


Bolton was traveling on the interstate when she was involved in a four-vehicle accident that killed one woman. Bolton escaped with her life but not without major injuries. The accident broke both her legs, her left wrist and right shoulder, as well as causing a spinal injury. She spent 28 days in Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, and had to have her right foot amputated.


When Bolton was ready for the next step in her recovery, she came to Life Care Center of Columbia, Tennessee, for rehabilitation.


“When Tracy arrived, she was nervous, anxious and scared about going to a ‘nursing home,’” said Vanessa Purdom, business development director.


At first, Bolton was bedbound and needed assistance with all of her activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, grooming herself and feeding herself. Therapists started working with her on strengthening her lower body so she could progress to sitting. Once she was able to do that, they helped her with quadriceps and core strengthening.


Wound care was also an important part of Bolton’s care as associates took care of her incision site for healing and avoiding infection.


Once Bolton received a prosthetic leg, she was able to start working on balance and practicing walking on the parallel bars.


During her stay, Bolton also celebrated her birthday with a big party in the activities department. Her family members and long-time friends visited and wished her well along with her new friends at the facility.


Bolton left Life Care Center of Columbia on July 9, walking with a prosthesis and a walker. She now lives independently at home with her children. She credits the staff for helping with her recovery, especially her main therapist, Dolly Lunkous, physical therapist assistant.


“Dolly pushed me, encouraged me and let me cry on her shoulder,” said Bolton.


The eight months of rehab changed how she views skilled nursing facilities.


Life Care is not just a facility for the elderly or injured,” Bolton said. “It became my second home. I am forever grateful for the love, compassion and support shown to me the eight months I lived there.”