People come to Allied Services for a wide variety of injuries or condition. We offer them the region's best practitioners and state-of-the-art technology. They offer us their will, their work, their desire to recover.
Each one of them is a miracle to us.

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Jimmy Boyd

At just 57 years old, James has suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. He was on life support for 12 days, finally coming round on February 14; what his family calls a “Valentine’s Day miracle.” Unable to speak, walk, or take care of his personal needs, James was referred to Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Scranton.

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Jimmy Boyd

James Boyd of Scranton is a familiar, friendly face at Allied Services, having worked there years ago. He recently returned, but this time as a patient. On February 2, 2015, James just finished snow blowing after yet another storm; one of the many during the relentless winter of 2015. He went inside to rest after developing a headache. Two weeks later, he woke up in the ICU at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, unaware of what had happened.

At just 57 years old, James has suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. He was on life support for 12 days, finally coming round on February 14; what his family calls a “Valentine’s Day miracle.” Unable to speak, walk, or take care of his personal needs, James was referred to Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Scranton.

On admission to Allied Services, James’ doctors weren’t sure what to expect in terms of recovery. Only a month later, James was talking, walking, and starting to take care of his personal needs. His family was amazed with his progress. They couldn’t thank his group of “miracle workers” enough.

“I truly believe that this would not be the case if Jimmy had been treated anywhere else,” said his sister, Marilyn. While he was at Allied’s Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, James’ Occupational Therapists also worked to treat his carpal tunnel symptoms. All of his doctors, nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and aides at Allied have his full gratitude. “I can’t say enough about my crew up there. I call them my A team!” said James.

Today, James is still making great strides in his recovery. He has returned home and now received outpatient therapy at Allied. He is currently working on his short term memory with his speech therapist, Danielle. James’ latest goal is to regain his vision, which was damaged by the stroke, so that he can drive again.

Joan Newman

Joan Newman who resides in Waverly, PA, was one of the first presidents of Allied Services VISTAS (Volunteers in Services to Allied Services), and remains an active volunteer, regularly providing pet therapy to residents at Allied Services’ Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

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A longtime champion of people with disabilities, Jack Newman, who died in 1997, was one of Allied Services’ founders. Thanks in part to his vision and efforts, Allied Services exists today providing health and human services to people in need. Joan, his wife, who resides in Waverly, PA, was one of the first presidents of Allied Services VISTAS (Volunteers in Services to Allied Services), and remains an active volunteer, regularly providing pet therapy to residents at Allied Services’ Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

“It is an organization that has been a central part of our family over the decades”, explains Jack and Joan’s daughter, Nancy Newman. “The compassion my father felt toward his work on behalf of Allied Services was a driving and motivating force in his life. In his later years when his health was declining, Allied provided a way for my father to stay involved in the community he loved. Today, my mother carries on this commitment through her pet therapy visits each week.”

“It is fulfilling to have our name associated with an organziation of such high caliber”, states Joan. “Everywhere I go, I always hear Allied praised to the stars.”

“Most dear to my heart,” notes Joan, “is that Allied provides a wonderful home for my daughter, Gail (who resides in one of Allied’s community homes for those with mental retardation and participates in Allied vocational programs). While she and I enjoy spending time together at my home, Gail is always happy to return to her own home at Allied, surrounded by her many friends and the staff who treat her as family.”

John Woloski

Life hasn’t been the same for Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski since February 4th. It’s the day he suffered a stroke on the job. It started as a late morning dull headache that was later accompanied by other symptoms. “I looked at my computer and I saw double. I looked at some of the items on my desk and I saw double. And then I started to try to think where I was.”

VIEW JOHN'S SPOTLIGHT

John Woloski

“I miss every morning greeting all my students through the door.”

Life hasn’t been the same for Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski since February 4th. It’s the day he suffered a stroke on the job. It started as a late morning dull headache that was later accompanied by other symptoms. “I looked at my computer and I saw double. I looked at some of the items on my desk and I saw double. And then I started to try to think where I was.”

John, who is diabetic and hypertensive, wasn’t sure what was happening. During a text message conversation with his wife Cheryl, she urged him to see the school nurse. “I thought maybe the sugar level was not what it was supposed to be and also he does have high blood pressure and I thought maybe the pressure went up but I had no idea it would have been a stroke,” she said. Valuable time passed from the onset of symptoms to when John finally saw nurse Nicole Tomek. “He was complaining. He said my head hurt so bad and he sat down in my office and I started talking to him and his speech was garbled. He was very confused. He started with a little bit of a droop in the face.” When asked what she thought was happening, Ms. Tomek replied “Stroke. Absolutely.”

An ambulance took John to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital leaving the Solomon Plains Memorial community traumatized. “This bubbly, loud, vivacious personality to the building has been silenced was like, it was, it took the whole staff by complete, complete shock. We were not, not prepared and there was a… there was a sense of despair on our part like my God, what happened,” said Solomon Plains Memorial Jr. High School Activities Director Brian Fischer.

The Woloskis say a hospital Cat scan could not detect the stroke-inducing clot. The limited window of opportunity passed to receive the powerful clot-dissolving drug tPA. After nearly 24-hours at Wilkes-Barre General, John was transferred to Penn State Hershey Medical Center for several days where he received a recommendation from his son, Jason. “My son, who is a doctor there, said to me Dad, there is a great facility John Heinz. They do fantastic work. We’re going to send you back there.”

John was transferred to John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital in Wilkes-Barre Township. Faced with the prospect of six hours of in-patient therapy per day, John knew it was gut-check time. “You can lay in this bed and feel sorry for yourself or you could get up tomorrow and do the best you can and hope that you will get better.”

John is home now after completing a nine week hospital stay but his rehabilitation to regain more of his speech and mobility is far from finished. As a stroke survivor, he has a message for anyone who may face a similar fate. “As bad as you feel don’t feel sorry for yourself. Just do what the trained experts are trying to do to help you and you will succeed. Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.” John had a few early symptoms indicating his stroke including severe headache, blurred or double vision and confusion. Many others experience the classic symptoms that help make up the acronym FAST. F = facial droop. A = arm weakness. S = speech difficulty. T means it is time to call 911. Remember, time equals brain.

Judy Farrell

If you visit Webster Towers in Scranton, you are sure to hear the name Judy Farrell. Judy is a resident of 27 years, and knows everyone and everybody. She has a heart-warming sense of humor and an uplifting personality. For the past 45 years, Judy has experienced a range of health problems; from broken bones to needing a pacemaker.

VIEW JUDY'S SPOTLIGHT

If you visit Webster Towers in Scranton, you are sure to hear the name Judy Farrell. Judy is a resident of 27 years, and knows everyone and everybody. She has a heart-warming sense of humor and an uplifting personality. For the past 45 years, Judy has experienced a range of health problems; from broken bones to needing a pacemaker.

Judy has a long standing relationship with Allied Services. Needing various surgeries throughout the years, she has been an inpatient and outpatient at Allied Rehab Hospital in Scranton, as well as receiving help from Allied Services Home Health.

“I only go to Allied. It’s getting to the point now where they’ll just say, do you want us to call Allied?” laughs Judy.

After mysteriously passing out for 9 years, Judy finally received a pacemaker that has solved the problem. After the surgery to insert the pacemaker, she had some serious complications and spent days in the hospital. When she came home, she was unable to move or take care of her daily needs. Allied Services Home Health helped Judy regain her independence, something she is adamant about at 75 years old.

Judy spoke about how caring and determined her Home Health nurses and therapists were. “They do not discharge you unless you prove yourself. I have never gone out of Allied not better,” said Judy. She emphasized how they always made sure she was alright before leaving. Judy laughed, telling stories about her recovery with them. She considers them her second family, her Allied family. Judy says she is “blessed” to have had Denise, Amy, Mary, and Maria there for her. “I just have the utmost respect for Allied.”

Judy’s latest challenge has been her shoulder, which she previously injured in a fall. She has been receiving outpatient therapy at the Luger Rehab Center in Scranton. She knows her therapist, Dawn, will have her as good as new in no time. In addition to her shoulder, Judy has also recently started receiving massage therapy for the Lymphedema in her arm. She says thanks to her therapist, Kim, she is already seeing improvement.

Judy is happy to be healthy again and able to get back to the things she loves doing, like visiting with her friends in the community room. Her latest goal is to get back to being out and about, taking walks to and from the store. She feels thankful to have made the progress she has. “I wouldn’t be doing a lot of things if it weren’t for Allied.”

Renee Stinson

“We don’t think she is going to make it.” That’s how bad she was,” said Renee’s mother, Angie Celmer.

Renee Stinson

"When she first got here, we really didn’t think that she would ever be going home. I mean we always have high hopes, but when you see someone on a trach, you tend to think the worst."

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Renee Stinson can be described by many as enthusiastic, dedicated, and loving. Her life is filled with her many passions including concerts, health and fitness, and her love for her family and friends. A 47-year old resident of Old Forge, Renee is a devoted friend, daughter, fiancé, and mother of two.

On October 20, 2015, Renee’s life unexpectedly changed. Without any signs or symptoms, her fiancé found her hemorrhaging and vomiting on the floor. She was rushed to Geisinger Community Medical Center Scranton where she was hooked up to multiple machines because of her life-threatening condition. “The doctors pulled me to the side and said, “We don’t think she is going to make it.” That’s how bad she was,” said Renee’s mother, Angie Celmer.

Renee was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a life-threatening type of stroke, along with numerous other complications. Without much hope, the doctors at Geisinger Community Medical Center Scranton decided to have her taken via life flight to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Renee would spend the next month in Danville receiving intense treatment which made her stable enough to come to Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center (SNC) in Scranton.

When Renee first arrived at Allied Services SNC on December 1, 2015, she didn’t have any movement in her upper or lower extremities, was totally dependent on others for everything, and had a feeding tube and a tracheostomy (trach). She couldn’t initiate any attempts to perform tasks of daily living such as toileting, dressing, or bathing. Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L, said, “When she first got here, we really didn’t think that she would ever be going home. I mean we always have high hopes, but when you see someone on a trach, you tend to think the worst.” Although Renee was in such a dire condition, the dedicated therapists at Allied Services were up to the challenge.

Therapy began by having Renee do a range of motions so that her muscles didn’t atrophy. It also included having Renee follow movements with her eyes because that was the only form of communication that she was capable of. Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L, and Chuck Haikes, PT Assistant, co-treated Renee and together constructed goals that they worked to have her achieve. To help describe the severity of Renee’s condition, the therapists note the first goal established was to have Renee be able to sit up on the side of a bed without falling over.

As Renee’s goals were constantly being achieved, more challenging goals had to be set. This is an attribute to her motivated and focused personality. “Whatever you ask her to do, she’s going to do that and more”, said Renee’s father, Ron Celmer. She was progressing so quickly. Renee accomplished goals such as sitting up, toileting, dressing, eating, writing checks, walking with an assistive cane, as well as many other improvements in functional skills.

A once hopeless outlook was now hopeful again. “Every day she did something completely different. I think what made me realize that she was doing awesome, is when she baked a chocolate cake from scratch. She was able to do it all from memory,” said Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L.

The therapists constructed her therapy in a unique way so that it complimented the many interests in Renee’s life. They made sure that the therapy that she received was not only motivational, but also enjoyable. For example, Renee loves rock music; so while she was getting therapy, they would blast rock music in the background.

Within just a few months, Renee became a true inspiration: she went from being completely dependent on others, to a thriving independent person again. With an extremely driven personality, a loving support system, and the remarkable therapy from her therapists and nurses, Renee was able to stand and walk out of Allied Services Skilled in the middle of March. She will continue to receive therapy with home-health services, as well as outpatient rehabilitation at Allied Services’ Taylor Rehab Center.

John Monahan

Retired from a 30-year career with the New York City Police Department, John had a brief rehab stay in a Manhattan hospital, but soon transferred to Allied Rehab, hoping for a quicker, fuller recovery in our accredited stroke rehab program. Today, he calls it "the best decision I ever made."

John Monahan

"The best decision I ever made."

Retired from a 30-year career with the New York City Police Department, John had a brief rehab stay in a Manhattan hospital, but soon transferred to Allied Rehab, hoping for a quicker, fuller recovery in our accredited stroke rehab program. Today, he calls it “the best decision I ever made.”

Damon Szatkowski

Since we started coming to Allied, the change in Damon has been miraculous. The people put their heart and soul into what they do.

Damon Szatkowski

"Since we started coming to Allied, the change in Damon has been miraculous. The people put their heart and soul into what they do."

When Damon Szatkowski crossed the stage at Dallas High School to collect his high school diploma in the summer of 2013, he received a standing ovation. The festivities that followed were more than just a celebration of one young man’s academic achievement; they were a celebration of life.

Just 18 months before, Damon Szatkowski lay unconscious in a local hospital after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in a car crash. On reaching the hospital, Damon’s parents were given the devastating news. The doctors did not expect their son to live through the night. If he lived, they didn’t expect him to recover, to walk, to talk or ever move again.

After five weeks in the intensive care unit at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Damon was moved to an inpatient rehabilitation clinic in Philadelphia where he remained in a minimally conscious state for five more weeks. The small signs of brain activity that he showed – the flicker of an eye, the movement of a finger – were quickly dismissed by the doctors. Again and again, Damon’s family was told that there was little hope of a recovery.

Despite the bleak outlook, Damon’s family believed that their once vibrant teenager would return. They adopted a motto. “There is no option.” Damon would recover. Determined to reach Damon, they filled his room with family and friends, his favorite posters and music. They played slide shows of family photos, always searching for recognition in Damon’s eyes.

Then one day, Damon gave his family the gift they had been praying for. When his mother, Karen, asked him where his Family Guy poster was, he moved his eyes, focusing on the poster. They repeated this with another poster with the same successful result. From that point on, it was clear to Damon’s family that their faith was not misplaced. It was not, however, as clear to the professionals at that rehab. They suggested taking Damon home.

Undaunted, Damon’s family took him to another rehab, still 2 hours from home, where he underwent 5 more surgeries before becoming medically stable. Over the next few weeks, Damon began to show more signs of improvement, although barely moving and not speaking, but beginning a form of communication by answering questions with the thumbs-up, thumbs-down signs.

After 12 more weeks away from home, and some more minor successes, Damon’s family opted to bring him home and begin therapy at Heinz Rehab Center in Wilkes-Barre. He began therapy sessions as an outpatient in May 2012, working with speech, occupational and physical therapists five days a week. Karen and her whole family immediately noticed the difference in Damon.

“Since we started coming to Allied, the change in Damon has been miraculous. The people put their heart and soul into what they do.”

Initially, Damon’s oral muscles were so weak that he was unable to speak and had trouble swallowing and eating. With much hard work and the expertise of his speech therapists, Damon is now speaking in sentences. He’s using the phone, ordering for himself at restaurants and happily is back to eating all of his favorite foods. Now that Damon’s oral muscles are strengthened, he is lighting up rooms with his signature smile once again.

Damon’s recovery has continued to amaze his family and friends. A few months after attending Allied for therapy, he started taking classes at home. Intensive occupational therapy sessions helped Damon improve the dexterity and coordination in right hand, allowing him to use an iPad or laptop for school work, and to the delight of both Damon and his family, he is able to write again. By January of 2013, he was taking a chemistry class at Dallas High School and a calculus class at home, and against all the odds Damon received his high school diploma in June of 2013, alongside his peers.

Damon has also made great progress in physical therapy. At the outset, he struggled to maintain an unsupported sitting position. He needed assistance controlling his head and upper body in the standing position and needed the support of 4 or 5 people to make use of a platform rolling walker. He no longer needs support with his head and upper body; he can transition from sitting to standing with assistance of 1 person; and he’s using the platform rolling walker at home with the assistance of just 2 people. Damon is working towards the short term goal of independent mobility with a power wheelchair; and given the drive that Damon, his family and his therapists share, this is another goal that he’s sure to achieve.

Since the terrible crash in 2011, Damon and his family have spent thousands of hours in therapy. They’ve also celebrated hundreds of milestones, some seemingly small (smiling), others seemingly unachievable (going to his senior prom), but all life-changing. Damon is currently taking classes at Misericordia University and hopes to some day achieve his childhood dream of becoming an electrical engineer.

“Damon’s recovery is a love story. Love between a mother and a son, a father, sisters, a community who reached out to support him. But it’s also a love story between Damon and his therapists, because they make him work, they inspire him to work and they are a huge reason that Damon is as far as he is today.”

Dr. Galasso

After her knee replacement surgery, Dr. Gwen Galasso, Pittston, chose Heinz Rehab for physical therapy.

Dr. Galasso

"It's a miracle to walk up and down stairs without pain."

After her knee replacement surgery, Dr. Gwen Galasso, Pittston, chose Heinz Rehab for physical therapy. “As a physician, I’ve seen several patients who’ve done very well; they provided excellent care and follow-up,” she said. Today, she says it’s a “miracle to walk up and down stairs without pain.”

Cassie Davies

A rare disease of the brain struck Cassie Davies, Clarks Summit, in the prime of life. Today, Cassie credits therapists at both Heinz Rehab and Allied Rehab for her amazing recovery.

Cassie Davies

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Cassie, a speech therapist from Allied Services, was a healthy 27-year-old. That all changed shortly after her birthday in September. Late September, Cassie suffered typical flu like symptoms, which became so severe she made several trips to the emergency room.

Suddenly on October 5, Cassie’s symptoms quickly intensified. Around 2 a.m., her parents rushed her to the hospital after her legs gave out on her while trying to stand. Within hours, she first lost the ability to move, then the ability to communicate, and by that evening while still in the ICU in Scranton, became unresponsive. A rapidly moving disease had struck her immune system. Doctors were baffled and they had more questions than answers. Time seemed to be running out. Hours later, Cassie’s family doctor alerted her parents and now fiancee, Matt, there was only a small window of time that she could be life flighted due to her deteriorating state. Cassie was intubated and life-flighted to Geisinger Danville, where her lifeless body went through a series of devastating events. After two weeks of being unresponsive, kept alive on a ventilator and feeding tube, doctors diagnosed her rare condition as Acute Disseminated Encepholomyelitis (ADEM). Miraculously, she awoke in the ICU on day 20, unable to speak or move. She shortly began communicating by answering yes and no questions by blinking her eyes.

She was moved out of the ICU into another facility within Geisinger, where she stayed until Halloween. Cassie began to regain her speech, then soon began to slowly feel and move parts of her body, starting from top to bottom.

On Halloween, she was taken to Allied Services Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital in Wilkes Barre. Now Cassie, the speech therapist from Alllied Services who was so used to helping miracles happen, began intensive inpatient occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Thanks to the dedicated nurses and therapists at Allied Services Heinz Rehab Hospital, she went from being unable to move to making significant gains. Her occupational therapist, Wendy, challenged and motivated her in unique and creative ways including blindfold walking, ladder climbing, and playing Wii. Sarah, her physical therapist, taught her to do transfers, stand, take her first steps assisted by the Zero-g machine, and eventually walk with a walker. This equipment was purchased with funds raised through Bronze charity involvement in the 2011 ING New York City marathon.

On Sunday, December 23, 2012, ONLY 79 days after she had been admitted into the hospital, Cassie was discharged. Matt brought her home and had “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” set up in a lavish light display in her backyard. While gripping her walker and Matt on one knee, Cassie of course said “Yes.”

Soon after being discharged from Heinz Rehab Hospital, Cassie began outpatient occupational and physical therapy at Allied Services, surrounded by her work family. Beginning outpatient therapy, Cassie was using her walker, had overall body weakness, and decreased endurance. But, she has made, and continues to make significant improvements each week thanks to her amazing team of therapists at Allied Services. They have been able to take the skills she learned while at Heinz Rehab, and fine tune them by combining their talents with unique equipment such as the Neurocom Equitest (purchased with funds raised from 2012 ING New York City marathon Bronze charity involvement).

She graduated from the walker, to a four-point cane, to a single point cane, and sometimes now without a cane at all.

Cassie, Matt, and their families are eternally grateful for everything Allied Services Integrated Health System staff has done and continues to do for Cassie during her recovery. Her therapists remain optimistic that Cassie will make a full recovery and be another example that miracles in rehab do happen. Cassie looks forward to being able to walk down the aisle and dance at her and Matt’s wedding in October of 2014.

Grace Angelella

"Mentally it was really hard, even though so many people said, “you’re going to be back, you’re going to be back.” I kept thinking I wasn’t going to be able to. But now that I am here, it is all definitely worth it."

Grace Angelella

"I am back to playing and I plan on playing in college"

Grace Angelella is a true example of perseverance, hard work, and dedication. Grace, a 16-year old from Harding, PA recently had an extensive surgery that required physical therapy. At such a young age, Grace inspired many with her determination to succeed at The Spine & Sports Medicine Rehab Center at Heinz Rehab Center in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Grace, who has been playing field hockey since she was in third grade, is currently a junior at Wyoming Area High School. Her love for field hockey pushed her to play through the pain she was experiencing on the left side of her hip for over the past two years. After multiple visits to the doctor, Grace was given different remedies to treat what they believed to be pulled hamstrings. However, the pain continued to be more persistent than ever.

The Angelella Family traveled to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City in November of 2014 where Grace learned that she suffered from a genetic condition called hip dysplasia. The treatment for this condition would require extensive.

The surgery, which is called periacetabular osteotomy, was scheduled for May of 2015. However, even though she is young, Grace knew exactly what she wanted in the future, which definitely did not involve sitting on the sidelines of her field hockey games. She aspires to attend college and play field hockey at the division 1 level. The surgery was rescheduled to an earlier date because of Grace’s motivation to fully recover in time to play for her field hockey season.

On February 3, 2015, Grace had her five hour surgery, which required doctors to cut her hip socket away from her hip in order to realign it and secure the placement with five screws. After her surgery, Grace began a long and challenging road of recovery. She described the pain as something she wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

“I never thought I would be able to run again,” Grace said as she began physical therapy at Heinz Rehab Center in the beginning of March with Theresa Stook, DPT.

Grace would come to Heinz 2-3 days a week for an hour at a time. Her therapy originally focused on learning to walk without her walker, which took a challenging 2 ½ months of therapy to be able to do. The therapy then shifted its attention on balancing, strengthening her coordination, and maintaining her core, but making sure that she did this all without any pain.

“Theresa and Mark, my physical therapists, always kept an eye on me and helped me out. They would always be there. Mentally it was really hard, even though so many people said, “you’re going to be back, you’re going to be back.” I kept thinking I wasn’t going to be able to. But now that I am here, it is all definitely worth it. I am back to playing and I plan on playing in college,” Grace said.

With lots of focus, tremendous support from her family and friends, and the help of the physical therapists at Heinz Rehab Center, Grace was able to recover in just 8 months, which is admirable compared to the expected year long recovery. She continues to receive therapy, however not as often and nearly not as intense. She truly is an amazing Grace!

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