BUILDER REBUILDS HIS LIFE WITH STRONG SUPPORT FROM REHAB TEAMS
New England Rehab, Braintree Rehab Combine Forces to Forge Success
for Brain Injury Patient
LYNNFIELD, MA, December 8, 2010 - Anthony Belmonte was a foreman for a top northeast construction company until the day he went into cardiac arrest. This resulted in an anoxic brain injury - a specific type of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen reaching the brain - which affected Belmonte's short-term memory and executive functioning skills.
Ironically, Belmonte's ability to solve math problems and complete puzzles showed a very high functioning mind. However, what was affected, besides his short- term memory, was his ability to do the day-to-day tasks most of us take for granted: decision-making and problem-solving situations, like being prepared to take a left or right turn at a stop sign, became almost impossible.
The first facility Belmonte found himself in was New England Rehabilitation located in Woburn, MA. With a competent staff dedicated to its patients' needs, the team cared for Belmonte in the early stages of his recovery. Since Belmonte required supervision 24 hours a day, the staff had a rotating team that sat with him day in and day out, ensuring that close attention was paid to his needs.
In addition to the outstanding team of doctors Belmonte worked with, the social services group offered support to the family. Performing an enormous amount of leg work, social workers assisted the family in navigating through paperwork regarding outside services and government subsidies. This enabled the family to focus on Belmonte's progress.
Once stabilized, Belmonte was ready for the next step in his recovery. Fortunately, with the help of the team at the Lynnfield satellite office of Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, he was able to again be the architect of his destiny and make the changes necessary to rebuild his life.
"The team there is so great," said Belmonte. "Even if I had been able to write a wish list on the people that would help me and my family through this time, I could not have had a better experience."
Working with speech and occupational therapists, case managers, social workers, and, of course, his family, Belmonte could once more contribute to his household and his community.
The first major improvement was when he began cooking. With a father who owned a fish store, family meals have always been an important tradition in the Belmonte household. It took months of weekly therapy sessions dedicated to training his brain on memory task organization. Utilizing calendars, a memory book, to-do lists and notes to keep him on track, he began triggering long-term memories and developing strategies for day-to-day living.
With an outgoing personality and the enviable ability to develop an instant rapport with people of all ages, Belmonte needed to be around others to enjoy interpersonal connections. The first step was a volunteer position at the Chariot Adult Day Health Program in Arlington, MA. In this role Belmonte helped with various recreational activities for low-functioning adults who require assistance with every task from getting dressed in the morning to enjoying a meal.
His tireless commitment and innate ability to connect with those struggling to complete everyday tasks made Belmonte a key player in Chariot's recreational department. Ultimately, it led to a job being created for him as assistant activities director.
Today, Belmonte works three days a week at the adult care center and makes dinner several nights a week. His two sons attend local colleges and continue to enjoy chatting with their dad about school work, future plans and sports.
Once a foreman, always a foreman. Instead of building infrastructures for others to use for work and fun, Belmonte now builds community and structure with those in need.