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Showing 1-10 of 144 Posts

John Woloski – Part 3: Support & Inspiration

Posted on May 21st, 2015. Filed under Stroke Awareness.

Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski’s story is an inspiring account of stroke survival. Having received extensive therapy at Allied Services, his story is being feature as a three-part story on WBRE-TV.

Wilkes-Barre Township, Luzerne County — 55-year-old John Woloski is a school principal, a former music teacher, and a Lions Club President. He added something else to his resume in February — stroke survivor. “I never thought it could happen to me. I know of people who’ve had strokes but you never think it’s going to happen to you,” he said.

John receives weekly extensive therapy at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Wilkes-Barre Township to try and recover from his stroke-induced speech and physical impairment. Cheryl Woloski spoke about her husband saying, “We don’t know if he is going to fully recover and we also don’t know when it’s going to happen if it does.”

The Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School principal gets much-needed support during his ongoing recovery from his immediate family and his school family. “This isn’t going to get him down. This is just a hiccup. This is something that will strengthen him. This is something that he’ll get over,” said Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Activities Director Brian Fischer. School nurse Nicole Tomek described Mr. Woloski as, “Very optimistic. He’s a go-getter. I think he will put his 100 percent in trying to get better.”

The support John gets from one particular Solomon Plains Junior High School student is unlike any other. 14-year-old Lizzie Breznay lives with cerebral palsy. Despite her physical limitations, the 8th grader has excelled to become one of the top students in her class. John said, “To me, my problems are so small and minute compared to what Lizzie has to face every day.” Lizzie and John forged an extraordinary friendship at school. “Every morning I would get a hug from Lizzie as she came through the door in her wheelchair.”

When John was a Heinz Rehab in-patient for nine weeks, Lizzie — who also receives therapy there — would sometimes visit him. She thought with the help of her home health aide Robin Jones, it was time for one more special reunion. During what was shaping up to be another arduous day of therapy recently for John, he received an emotional boost that only Lizzie could bring. Her surprise visit made John exclaim, “OH MY GOODNESS. There she is. I need my hug today. Oh, oh my goodness. What are you doing? You stinker, you.” It’s an inspirational life lesson for Principal John Woloski — stroke survivor. “I look at Lizzie and I know I’m going to get better so we have a lot to do, right Lizzie? That a girl. Oh my goodness,” John responded emotionally as he fought back tears.

Another inspirational moment was set to take place Wednesday night at Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School. John Woloski planned to return to the school for the first time since his stroke to be on hand as Lizzie Breznay and several other students were to be inducted into the National Honor Society.

Trooper Douglass – In His Own Words

Posted on May 20th, 2015. Filed under General News.

WNEP-TV’s Ryan Leckey recently sat down with Trooper Alex Douglass for his first interview, regarding his shooting and recovery which involved extensive therapy at Allied Services Rehab Hospital. For the full interview transcipt, click here.

For the first time since he was shot eight months ago outside the state police barracks in Pike County, Trooper Alex Douglass spoke about that horrifying night, his recovery, and his goals for the future.

It was a very emotional experience as Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey sat down with Trooper Douglass and we got a sense of what his life has been like since that scary September night when he was nearly killed on the job.

Inside his home in Lackawanna County, Trooper Alex Douglass invited us in to sit down and ask the questions so many of us want to hear him answer, about what happened that night eight months ago and how he`s been striving to recover.

John Woloski – Part 2: Help and Hope

Posted on May 19th, 2015. Filed under Stroke Awareness.

Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski’s story is an inspiring account of stroke survival. Having received extensive therapy at Allied Services, his story is being feature as a three-part story on WBRE-TV.

Wilkes-Barre Township, Luzerne County — 55-year-old stroke survivor John Woloski gets positive feedback in more ways than one at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Wilkes-Barre Township. He gets biofeedback using a device called REO as part of his occupational therapy. Using grasp and release functions to control a virtual hand, John works on improving his stroke-weakened left arm.
Occupational therapist Lori Ackerman told him, “Okay, this is all you. You have to do all the work. The machine is just going to keep you in line. So, it’s going to be a little tougher.” Tough tests are nothing new for John since a stroke in February impaired his mobility and speech and forced him to take a leave of absence as principal at Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School in Plains Township. He thought back to a childhood idol, legendary boxer Joe Frazier, to channel his own inner fighter in this comeback bid. “Joe used to get beat up sometimes in the ring pretty bad as you probably know. But he never stopped. He always went on and on. And I said to myself you have to be like Joe. Just go. No matter what they put you through don’t stop because he wouldn’t stop.”

Three days a week, three hours each day, John undergoes therapy at Heinz Rehab to try and regain the life he once knew. “He suffered greatly in terms of his mobility so he was a candidate for a lot of the technology that we can offer stroke patients because it was not only his upper but it was his lower extremity as well,” said Dr. Greg Basting, M.D. who is the medical director at John Heinz Rehabilitation Medicine. John and other stroke patients, unlike those decades earlier, now have access to the REO and other specialized state of the art equipment like the Zero G. “The Zero G, which John used in part of his recovery, helps a therapist improve a patient’s balance, walking ability, ability to stand all with technologies that were not available ten years ago,” said Dr. Basting.

John uses the Bioness L 300 during physical therapy to correct his foot drop and improve mobility by stimulating muscles and nerves in his lower leg. Physical therapist Angela Reese who works with John said, “It’s an assist. It allows him to use the muscle activity that he has and allows him to place it in a more appropriate position. Cheryl Woloski, John’s wife, said “It’s just amazing. It’s the machinery, the equipment that they have in addition to those therapists.”

Several of those therapists armed with walkers joined John for a routine that the former music teacher turned principal choreographed himself set to the Meghan Trainor song “All About That Bass”. His sense of humor and determination combined with skilled help and state of the art rehab equipment at Heinz Rehab give John and his wife great hope. When asked what were here hopes or expectations for John’s recovery, Cheryl replied “We’re going to dance again. We’re big dancers and we’re going to dance again some day.”

See below for the full video of John’s choreography of “All About That Bass.”

John Woloski – a Life Lesson in Stroke Survival Part 1

Posted on May 18th, 2015. Filed under Stroke Awareness.

Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski’s story is an inspiring account of stroke survival. Having received extensive therapy at Allied Services, his story is being feature as a three-part story on WBRE-TV.

“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.

Nursing Home Week – Matthew Dombrowski’s Story

Posted on May 12th, 2015. Filed under Skilled Nursing.

Nursing Home Week - Matthew Dombrowski's Story

In addition to stroke awareness, May also celebrates Nursing Home Week. The American Health Care Association has designated this year’s Nursing Home Week, May 10 to 16, 2015, as “Bring on the Fiesta!” Celebrate “Bring on Fiesta” with Familia, Vida and Amor (family, life, love) during National Nursing Home Week 2015! We call on everyone to strut their stuff this week. Make it a special time of entertainment and education for all while focusing on bringing to life the subtheme of “Familia, Vida and Amor.”

In honor of National Nursing Home Week, we would like to share a story that exemplifies family, life and love. One great example ties all three subthemes- the Dombrowski family story. On July 10, 2013, Matthew was found unresponsive, suffering from a massive brain bleed. He was moved from Allied Services’ Heinz Rehab Brain Injury Unit in Wilkes-Barre to our Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Scranton on July 31. Matthew was paralyzed on one side of his body and could not speak. Christine, Matthew’s loving wife of 40 years, has been at his side since day one.

“At every little point throughout the process, they did what he needed,” said Christine, reflecting on the care Matthew received during his time at Allied Services. Matthew has been treated by multiple physical and occupational therapists. Matthew is now able to sit up, stand and pivot his body. Occupational therapists have been working with Matthew to help him regain the skills needed to perform daily activities such as washing his face and maneuvering his wheeling chair. Christine is thankful for all the PT and OT members of Allied Services who treated her husband. She is also thankful for all the aides who trained and educated her on being able to care for Matthew. The aides prepared Christine to provide support for Matthew when he arrives home (anticipated return home in July!) Lastly, Christine was so gracious of our speech therapist who helped Matthew progress. Speech therapists worked with Matthew every step of the way, from getting the muscles in his mouth moving to being back on a regular diet.

Matthew is starting to form words including “I love you,” which he tells his wonderful wife Christine, every day. Matthew’s wife and daughter can not wait to have him home. This is a truly amazing story that speaks the language of family, life and love.

Stroke Awareness Month

Posted on May 11th, 2015. Filed under General News.

Re-posted from WNEP 16.

From prevention to new treatments, there is a big message going out this month from medical experts about stroke awareness.

The National Stroke Association said a stroke is among the top 10 causes of death in children in the United States.

Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey was in Scranton to talk with experts about how to spot a stroke, as well as new treatments and what recovery is like for those suffering from a stroke at all ages.

For more lifesaving information on spotting a stroke and stroke prevention, click here.

For more details on the American Heart/Stroke Association’s upcoming Heart Walk on May 30 in Wilkes-Barre’s Kirby Park, click here.

A community talk to inform people of stroke prevention and advances in treatment is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12 at 11 a.m. at North Pocono Senior Community Center in Covington Township.

Burnley April Showers Ball shines light on individuals with disabilities; raises more than $50,000 for non-profit organization

Posted on April 30th, 2015. Filed under Burnley.

Burnley April Showers Ball shines light on individuals with disabilities; raises more than $50,000 for non-profit organization

Burnley Employment and Rehab Services is celebrating the success of their recent annual awards dinner and fundraiser, the Burnley April Showers Ball. 260 guests including Burnley board members, staff, employees, sponsors and community members gathered on Friday April 24th at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn to celebrate the achievements of individuals with disabilities.

Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, donors and guests, the 2015 Burnley April Showers Ball raised more than $50,000. The proceeds from the Ball will assist Burnley in providing vocational training and employment opportunities, bringing new possibilities to people with disabilities.

Jason Hollender of Kresgeville received a standing ovation as he accepted his award for Burnley Workshop Employee of the Year. Employed by Burnley since 2005, Hollender was commended for his dedication to his work and his kind-hearted and caring nature with his supervisors and coworkers.

Larry Zazeela of Stroudsburg received a similarly raucous reception as he accepted the Burnley Community Employee of the Year award. Zazeela is employed by Burnley as part of 50 person janitorial person team at Tobyhanna Army Depot. He was praised for his professional achievements and his commitment to his community; Zazeela is a 10 year member of the Kiwanis Aktion Club of Monroe County.

The Board and staff of Burnley also honored Jill Elizabeth MacLaren and her late husband Scott, owners of Liztech Jewelry for their personal commitment to empowering, training and employing individuals with disabilities. Jody Finn and Sandy Krajnak accepted the Mary Gearhart award on behalf of Old Navy in Stroudsburg. They were recognized for their untiring commitment to extending the benefits of employment to individuals with disabilities.

Burnley wishes to say a special thank you to its premier sponsors Superheat, Inc and Weiler Corporation, and other generous sponsors, Adams Outdoor Advertising, H.D.Smith, Mattioli Foundation, PPL, PNC, Thomas & Christine Pugh, Quantum Rehab, sanofi pasteur, Stroudsburg Eye Specialists, Valor Credit Union and Vigon International.

Pictured, left to right: Bill McCabe, Burnley Board Chairman with Honorees Sandy Krajnak and Jody Finn of Old Navy in Stroudsburg; Jill Elizabeth MacLaren of Liztech; Employees of the Year Jason Hollender of Kresgeville and Larry Zazeela of Stroudsburg.

Allied Services Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center earns recognition for Respiratory Care

Posted on April 27th, 2015. Filed under Skilled Nursing.

Allied Services Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center earns recognition for Respiratory Care

For the second year running, the American Association for Respiratory Care has awarded Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center their “Quality Respiratory Ca​re Recognition.” This annual designation is awarded to skilled nursing facilities meeting the highest standards of respiratory care. Providers of respiratory therapy services earn the designation based on adherence to a range of standards including quality of care, safety, clinical expertise, provision of round-the-clock care and implementation of best practices.

Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Scranton is the only skilled nursing center in the region that offers a dedicated respiratory unit. The 21-bed unit, led by a board certified Pulmonologist, utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to providing respiratory care to residents and patients. The unit’s licensed respiratory therapists provide extensive pulmonary care for the most medically complex patients, both on a post-acute and chronic long-term level.

In the past year, the facility upgraded its entire fleet of ventilators, introducing state of the art devices that offer the latest in safety and therapeutic functions.

“Our staff is continually working to provide the highest level of care and outcomes for our patients. We’re proud to be recognized as the region’s leading provider of respiratory care for skilled nursing patients” commented Christopher Richardson, Acting Director of Respiratory Therapy, Allied Services Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center.

New lift wheelchair unveiled by Pride Mobility division

Posted on April 20th, 2015. Filed under General News.

Re-posted from The Times Tribune

Quantum Rehab’s iLevel seat elevation technology has changed Sgt. Bryan Anderson’s life.

The triple amputee featured in the movie “American Sniper” joined Quantum Rehab at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine for the unveiling of a technology that allows Sgt. Anderson to remain mobile at eye-level standing height, while operating a power wheelchair at walking speed.

“It has made my daily life easier and more fun, too,” he said.

Sgt. Anderson, 34, was injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2005 and lost both his legs and his left hand.

New lift wheelchair unveiled by Pride Mobility division

The Purple Heart recipient underwent rehabilitation for 13 months at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Today, he is the national spokesman for Quantum Rehab, a division of Exeter-based Pride Mobility, and travels the country to deliver a message of perseverance and determination.

After he lost his legs and hand, he said, he learned ways to adapt and overcome. He began living in the moment and focusing on what was in front of him instead of what was behind him.

“There is absolutely nothing I can do to change what had happened,” he said. “I can’t change anything back there. I can change what’s in front of me though, so that’s what I started doing.”

Old Forge resident Kiel Eigen, 22, a quadriplegic as a result of a football injury, also said using the iLevel technology has changed his life and doubled his functionality over a normal power wheelchair. He summed up what he likes best about the new technology in one word: speed.

“Being in a chair, you’re always at a disadvantage with speed,” Mr. Eigen said. “This is so much more time-efficient.”

Company officials began talking to Sgt. Anderson, Mr. Eigen and other disabled people about what they like and what they don’t like and they helped to bring on the iLevel seat elevation technology, said Jay Brislin, vice president of Quantum Rehab.

By being eye-level with their peers, Mr. Brislin said the technology allows them to have more social interaction and they can operate the chair at a speed that makes sense. It allows people with disabilities to be more independent, he said.

“iLevel allows the seating system on the chair to raise up 10 inches and go up to 3 miles an hour,” Mr. Brislin said. “Our passion at this point is really the people using these chairs and trying to understand what they go through on a daily basis and what we could do to help.”

For more information about the iLevel technology, visit www.QuantumRehab.com.

Half Marathon: Godlewski ready to run this time

Posted on April 11th, 2015. Filed under General News.

Half Marathon: Godlewski ready to run this time

Re-posted from the Times Tribune.

Dolly Godlewski has had her share of setbacks.

Multiple injuries. Surgery. Months of rehabilitation and hours of physical therapy. It hasn’t deterred the 63-year-old Taylor woman from pursuing what she’s grown to love.

In fact, it’s pushed her to do more than she thought she ever could.

On Sunday, Godlewski will step up to the starting line of the second annual Scranton Half Marathon on Providence Road. And 13.1 miles later, she plans to finish on the track of Valor Credit Union Field at Memorial Stadium to redeem her absence from last year’s race due to a foot injury.

“I was always an active person,” Godlewski said. “As I began to run over the past couple years, I found that it really motivates me. There’s times I don’t feel like going but I push myself. But I feel so much better afterward.”

Dolly Godlewski

Godlewski’s journey to running half marathons began just six years ago after she fell on a patch of ice and tore her rotator cuff.

Major reconstructive surgery by Dr. Kevin Colleran and months of physical therapy — something she had never endured — at Allied Services in Taylor followed.

She maintained a strict schedule to work her shoulder back to strength but when she wasn’t in those therapy sessions, she admitted she became lazy. That changed in spring 2010, when her son Jared, a marathon runner, came to her with a suggestion.

“He suggested that I give running a shot,” Godlewski recalled. “He said, ‘Mom, you can’t be sitting around all the time.’ ”

Godlewski took her son up on his advice and signed up for the Scranton Running Company’s Couch-to-5k program, something she said was difficult in the beginning, but quickly turned into enjoyment.

The program completed with a 5K race and an accomplishment Godlewski could not have envisioned just a few months prior.

“It was really something,” she said. “It was just a nice feeling to go to that finish line thinking, ‘I did it, I was in charge.’ ”

What Godlewski realized soon thereafter was that her running career was just getting started. After turning 60, she decided to set her sights on completing a half marathon. She registered for the 2012 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Half Marathon in Wilkes-Barre.

As she was training, Godlewski developed pain in her left foot but didn’t think much of it. As the training progressed, so did the pain.

Although she couldn’t train like she wanted — running mostly on and off when she could — Godlewski finished the race. She later found out the constant pain hindering her was a plantar fasciitis tear and heel spurs.

Unlike her shoulder injury, Godlewski would not need surgery. But she did have to return for physical therapy at Allied. All the while, her mind was set on getting healthy for her next race.

That race was supposed to be the first Scranton Half Marathon. But those plans would have to be put on hold.

During the early part of the harsh winter prior to last April’s race, Godlewski’s right foot began acting up. The result was, yet again, another tear in her plantar fasciitis and bone spurs.

“It was disappointing knowing I couldn’t run in the first Scranton Half,” she said. “But it motivated me. I just knew I had to get better.”

Once again, with the help of Allied’s doctors and physical therapists, Godlewski rehabbed back to full health and decided she didn’t want to let 2014 go by without running in an event.

The event she chose was the Wineglass Half Marathon in Corning, New York, in October. It was a race Godlewski had marked on her bucket list and she finished in roughly 2 hours, 55 minutes.

In January, Godlewski began preparing for another race she had longed to do. She trained with the “Can’t is Not an Option” running group, coordinated by Scranton native Frank Swaha, who has completed numerous marathons after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2010.

“I’m being honest, the training was hard,” she said. “I had to use a lot of caution because of the bad weather. This half marathon right now was my toughest to train for.”

It may have been tough but it’s a feeling Godlewski has grown accustomed to. When she crosses the finish line Sunday, she’ll go to the next item on that bucket list — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on Oct. 31.

As for what the future holds after that, Godlewski doesn’t know. But running will almost certainly be in it.

“As long as I’m healthy,” she said, “I want to do whatever I can.”