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Horse Country couple recognize MRH stroke care with Foundation gift

| Date Posted: 2/25/2010

Horse Country couple recognize MRH stroke care with Foundation gift
February 25, 2010

PINEHURST – Before March 5, 2009, Anne Eldridge thought nothing about participating in the most rigorous of horseback riding competitions. Her specialty: three-day eventing, the equestrian’s triathlon – a grueling combination of dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping.

A stroke – a 6 or 7 on a scale of 10, her neurologist said – changed all that, striking the perennially healthy Eldridge without warning or apparent reason and taking the use of her left side. She spent a month in three nursing units – Robins ICU, 2Neuro and Inpatient Rehab – at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital before continuing her physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient with FirstHealth’s Aviemore Drive Center.

Eldridge and her husband, Charles “Cap” Kane, couldn’t have been more pleased with her care.

“I don’t know that it could have been a better experience anywhere,” says Kane.

Because Eldridge and Kane consider Boston their home and come to Moore County Horse Country only for the few months of the competitive riding season, their friends in New England lobbied for her quick return to Massachusetts – to Massachusetts General or Brigham & Women’s for her medical care or to Spaulding Rehabilitation for therapy.

However, Kane observed the care his wife was getting at Moore Regional, made some calls to friends who knew about such matters and decided that she should stay right where she was. Moore Regional, he learned, offers the same level of care and the same national accreditations as the famed teaching institutions of Greater Boston, but with the personal attention of a small-town hospital.

Kane also discussed his wife’s rehab with the neurologist who runs the stroke rehabilitation program at Spaulding, and she especially stressed the importance of Moore Regional’s CARF accreditation for comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation.

“That was the one she felt was industry standard,” says Kane.

Eldridge and Kane were impressed enough with the care she received in both the ICU and the rehab wing that they decided even before she left the hospital to make a donation to the Scroll Society of the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation. The money will go to the Foundation’s Neuroscience CARE Fund and to Home Care for nurse and therapist education.

“We wanted to say thank you to the hospital for being there and for providing such good care,” Kane says. “Right through the system, rehab, home care, they were outstanding. Aviemore (for physical therapy) was equally outstanding. Throughout your whole spectrum, we have found what we believe to be excellence.”

According to Cindy Sayce, director of Inpatient Rehabilitation and Acute Care Therapy Programs at Moore Regional Hospital, money from the Neuroscience CARE Fund helps nurses and therapists “be better health providers” by funding educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them.

“It allows us to keep up with the latest trends and research,” she says. “It also rejuvenates you as a clinician, because you come back excited and eager to do new things.”

Eldridge and Kane made their donation through the Buchanan Family Foundation, a philanthropic endeavor established by her family to benefit medical, artistic, educational and conservation efforts primarily around Anne Eldridge’s hometown of Chicago. But, says Kane, who is a private investment adviser, the Foundation operates with enough flexibility to “broaden the reach of interests that touch certain family members in ways they feel deserve recognition.”

In the year since her stroke, Eldridge “has made good and steady progress,” her husband says. She now drives on her own and has begun to work with therapists at Moore County’s Prancing Horse Foundation to improve the finer aspects of her riding skills.

“For someone who has been a top competitive rider, that’s never fast enough,” Kane says. “But with aggressive therapy, our hope is that, over time, she will get back to a life she is happy with and that she can do things with that life.”

For more information on the Scroll Society or the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, call the Foundation of FirstHealth at (910) 695-7500.

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