"I Knew I Was in Good Hands."

Shirley Denton was not familiar with rehabilitation care at Ka`u Hospital until she needed a place to recover from surgery.

“I was at Queens Hospital after having surgery to take care of an infection from the previous surgery,” said Shirley, who lives in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

“When I was ready to go home, I was told that I needed to continue my antibiotic therapy. I knew about facilities in Kona. I asked about options in Hilo and then I was told about Ka`u Hospital.”

“I said, ‘really!’ It’s much closer to our home. I had also been there before to get blood tests,” she said.

It was coffee picking season and her husband Steven Niemann was working at his friend’s house located above the hospital.

Ka`u Hospital was optimal for her recovery so Steven could visit often and on his way to and from work. “He wouldn’t have been be able to work and come visit me if I had been on Oahu.”

“My doctor at Queens worked with Ka`u Hospital to make sure they could administer the intense medication regimen and the folks at Ka`u Hospital said, ‘We’ll take her.’”

“Absolutely! We were happy to welcome Shirley to our facility,” said Sherrie Bazin, Director of  Nursing at Ka`u Hospital. “This is what we are here for!”

Of the 21 beds at Ka`u Hospital, 16 are for long term care and 5 of are critical access beds to care for patients like Shirley who require ongoing care like rehabilitation or antibiotic therapy.

“My friends asked me how things were going and if they could visit,” said Shirley. “I told them that I liked being there. It’s like going to your friend’s or family’s house.”

“When I first started walking, the nurses or aides would swoon around me and ask, ‘Aunty, you need help?’ Other aides helping their patients would offer my aide help. You don’t see this kind of camaraderie at much larger facilities. You feel like a person here.”

Being closer to home also helped Shirley envision the next step in her recovery. “My goal is to return to dancing hula and doing the things I did before like gardening and raising my animals! I also look forward to diving with my husband and picking coffee.”