People of LifeCare

Whitney Bennefield, Patient


Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital

Success Story

Whitney Bennefield, raises her left hand to wave good bye to her care team at Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital as she is transported to Craig Hospital; the
next destination on her road to recovery.  This is a long-awaited moment for her and her parents Scott and Julie Bennefield of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. 

Two and a half months ago life suddenly changed for Whitney and her family when the motorcycle she was a passenger on collided with another vehicle, leaving her with catastrophic injuries to her head, torso and extremities.  She was triaged to a local Denver trauma hospital where surgeons and intensivists treated her injuries to preserve her life and limbs.  To protect Whitney from life threatening brain swelling, her care team performed a procedure that removed a piece of her skull, which was replaced several weeks later. 

After two weeks in the ICU, Whitney was stable enough to transfer to Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital. She was greeted by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers with years of training and expertise to aid in her continuing recovery.  Whitney’s care was predominantly focused on neurological recovery and rehabilitation, led by our board-certified neurologist, Rai Kakkar MD.  His esteemed team of therapists, and the coordinated care they provided to Whitney, was not only impactful to her but also impressionable to her family.

What stood out the most to us was the daily engagement of Whitney’s rehabilitation team as they facilitated the reawakening of Whitney’s neuronal pathways to help re-establish both cognitive function and extremity movements that had purpose.  She relearned to mouth words, smile, laugh, stand and wave. ” Testimonial given by Scott Bennefield.

Not surprisingly, Whitney’s therapists were also inspired by the strides she made during her sessions.

“I was honored to assist Whitney in her recovery.  As I watched her surpass my short- and long-term goals of re-establishing and strengthening neuronal pathways via returning to oral intake, communication, and an increased engagement with her environment, I was reminded why we do the work we do at Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital.   She is truly a success story that will remain in our hearts and minds.” Testimonial given by Irene Kim, CCC-SLP, CBIS (Certified Brain Injury Specialist)

“Whitney is one of the hardest working patients I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  She would fight through the pain of the rehabilitation process and give 110% at every session.  She gave her greatest effort and stood strong for the first time with Lauren and I singing Journey’s “Don’t stop believing” as her fight song.   Every treatment was fun and interactive, as her contagious smile carried her through.” Testimonial given by Katie Malarchick, PT, DPT, MOT, OTR/L

“From the very first time I met her, [Whitney] did everything I asked of her, and most days would end the treatment session with a smile.  It was often that OT and PT worked in tandem with Whitney, and she quickly learned the rhythm of our treatments such that she began to anticipate the actions we wanted before she was instructed to complete them.  I believe relating our exercises to dance was the perfect strategy to help Whitney work her left lower extremity and regain the ability to stand on it.  I am excited to see and hear about Whitney’s progress and all that she will accomplish at Craig Hospital.”  Testimonial given by Lauren Celoria, PTA.

The quality and value of the customized care the Bennefields received during their stay is the standard that we pride ourselves on at Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital.  Whitney and her parents look forward to continued progress with the program at Craig Hospital.  One of her goals is to be back on her feet so that she can cook delicious meals for her family and friends, a favorite hobby of hers.  Everyone, including the staff at Colorado Acute, looks forward to the moment when Whitney can belt out her inner voice and reconnect with her musical creativity again.  While the road to recovery has been one with trials, it has also been one filled with inspiration and heartfelt passion.


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