By Madina Toure
A new stroke center has opened at The Grand at Queens nursing home in Whitestone, coinciding with May’s American Stroke Month. The center is intended to meet a growing demand for dedicated stroke rehabilitation centers. Some 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year, according to the Grand.
The Walter Strauss Stroke Center, housed in the 179-bed facility at 157-15 19th Ave., offers health care services, which include education, neurology, recreation, social services, occupational therapy, orthopedic, physical therapy, nutrition, psychiatry and support groups.
The center is a dedicated 12-bed wing for individuals recovering from strokes. It has a nursing staff that has received specialized training in stroke rehabilitation and recovery as well as a gym with the latest stroke rehabilitation equipment.
Dan Muskin, regional administrator for The Grand; Jake Walden, vice president of business development; and Andrew Weissman of Guilderland Center Rehabilitation gave TimesLedger a tour of the facility before the ribbon-cutting ceremony May 12.
More than 150 people attended the ceremony, including community leaders, local dignitaries and representatives from regional hospitals.
Muskin said the dedicated rooms for stroke patients are unique in that each patient gets a flat-screen TV with pillow speakers, so that roommates can watch what they want to watch.
In addition to being provided with concierge service, each patient receives a The Grand sweatsuit, which Muskin says makes patients feel more “dignified” than wearing a hospital gown does.
“You’re immediately offered a shower and you’re offered a sweatsuit because everybody feels 1,000 times better after they take a shower and putting on a fresh, clean pair of clothes makes you feel like a million bucks,” Muskin said. “We want your first night with us to really be the start of a beautiful relationship.”
Walden said the extras The Grand offers are a big part of its efforts to help patients concentrate on getting better.
“All the concierge-style amenities are something that you don’t want to be worried about when you’re worried about recovery for your life,” Walden said. “So if we focus on doing all those things and making you just get better with the proper care and we make all the small things come to you on a silver platter, it’ll make your life a lot easier.”
To further help patients with speech and communication rehabilitation, the center uses the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument, a measuring device that assesses muscle weakness and motor control.
Weissman said the director of the rehab center is a speech language pathologist, noting that it is rare for speech pathologists to take on such an extreme intensive rehab specifically for stroke patients.
Some of the stroke patients have also had unrelated hip and knee surgeries and need to regain their lower and upper body strength, he said.
“For those type of patients, they really have to deal with the struggles of things like dysphasia or eating problems, speaking, cognition issues,” Weissman said. “But as Claudia (Giammarino) is the speech language pathologist, she has a real, great pull on what it takes for somebody who has suffered a traumatic brain injury or a stroke to get back to that level of functioning.”
Laverne Pryce, nurse manager for The Grand’s first floor, which includes the stroke unit, has been working at The Grand for eight years.
“It’s (the center) going to benefit families, it’s going to benefit residents,” Pryce said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour