(CNN) – Former President George H.W. Bush remained in a Texas hospital Thursday, but the hospital said his condition was improving and he was expected to be home by Christmas.
“Given his current pace of progress, doctors expect that President Bush will be able to celebrate Christmas at home with his family – though no release date has been set at this time,” a statement from Methodist Hospital in Houston read.
Bush, 88, was initially hospitalized on November 23 with bronchitis and remained there with what his spokesman described as a “lingering cough.” His office originally expected a release in late November or early December.
“President Bush’s condition has steadily improved to the point that, instead of battling the lingering effects of bronchitis, the focus of his treatment now centers on a physical therapy program designed to increase his strength in advance of his eventual discharge,” the hospital said Thursday.
Bush has a form of Parkinson’s disease that affects his legs and requires him to use a wheelchair.
He is the oldest living former president and a World War II veteran.
He was previously hospitalized overnight in 2007 after a fainting spell caused by dehydration and hot weather while golfing in California.