John Zeleznick, 85, worked as a self-employed barber for 60 years. He retired and went on regular golf outings, a highlight of his retirement. John’s golf game, and many other aspects of his life, changed when he suffered a stroke while at home. He was unable to walk, had difficulty with his speech and swallowing and his right arm and hand suffered major limitations.
“Dad’s life changed dramatically,” said John’s daughter, Linda Poorman. “He needed a high dose of rehabilitation to get strong and get home.”
Poorman, who chaired Centre County’s 2015 American Heart and Stroke Walk, knew the importance of rehabilitation and staying active as a certified personal trainer and health coach.
“We asked for HealthSouth Nittany Valley,” Poorman said. “We knew an inpatient rehabilitation hospital would provide more therapy per day than other places, and that’s what dad needed. When he started rehabilitation, he couldn’t walk; he was in a wheelchair. His main goal was to walk out of the hospital.”
John spent two and half weeks as an inpatient at HealthSouth Nittany Valley, working with physical, occupational and speech therapy for three hours a day. He also had daily physician visits, and his progress was closely monitored by his case manager and rehabilitation team, including nurses. He reached his goal on March 26, and walked out of HealthSouth Nittany Valley. When John was strong enough to go home, he had a smooth transition from the HealthSouth Nittany Valley to the outpatient program at the hospital and continues to improve.
John is working towards accomplishing his next goals of golfing and driving again.
“John and his daughter understand that gains can be made at any time after a stroke,” said occupational therapist Christy Vuchenich. “While a patient who has had a stroke typically sees the most improvement in the first six months, a patient can make gains throughout their life. Whether John’s goal is to improve his gait and balance, or get back to golf, we’ll be available to work with him.”
For more information on stroke rehabilitation or prevention, visit www.nittanyvalleyrehab.com or call HealthSouth Nittany Valley at 814-359-3421. Additional resources and information are offered online by the Centers for Disease Control, American Stroke Association and National Stroke Association.