Catherine Gooch, professor at Ithaca College, Recognized in the Ithaca Times for Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Center for Life Skills

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:00 am

Individuals who have experienced a stroke can find it difficult to do the day-to-day tasks they once were able to do.

That’s where Ithaca College’s Center for Life Skills comes in.

The center is offering a rehabilitation program for people who experienced a stroke, which will take place from Jan. 30 to May 6 and will include approximately 10 hours of programming each week. The Center for Life Skills is located at Longview, 1 Bella Vista Drive in Ithaca.

The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life for those who have experienced a stroke and have been discharged from a formal rehabilitation program, but deem it necessary to continue post-rehab services.

“We work with individuals who have experienced stroke and most have completed a formal rehabilitation program, but are no longer residing in the hospital,” said Catherine Gooch, program manager. “We’re continuing their therapies to help them be as independent as possible.”

She said eight to 10 participants are accepted each semester, and the programming follows the academic calendar. The sessions take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Participant outcomes may include increased strategies to facilitate communication, increased awareness of adaptive equipment, increased mobility and independence in self care, and identification of recreation interests.

Gooch said the participants receive four different types of therapies: Occupational, physical, therapeutic recreation and speech. Ithaca College students and their instructors provide the therapies to the participants.

“Within those therapies, the students and the practitioners come up with a plan and goals, along with the participant and families to adjust those goals,” she said. “They come up with an individualized plan, and they plan activities in the different sessions for the participant to take part in throughout the week.”

Gooch said the college students providing the therapies are supervised 100 percent of the time by the clinicians. The benefit to the participants is receiving diverse therapies, but the students also get practical, hands-on experience that benefits their education.

“It's a benefit for the student because they’re gaining the experience and knowledge,” Gooch said. “What they’re learning in the classroom can be shown in the clinic. It’s an experiential lab and they’re providing a community service. It’s definitely mutually beneficial.”

The program has been running for more than 12 years now, as the first session took place in the fall of 2000.

“We’ve had a great response from people (who have taken part),” Gooch said.

She did note that there is a fine line when choosing participants, as they are not able to take those who are still very reliant on health care professionals. On the other hand, Gooch said, they don’t want participants who are very independent.

“One thing people need to look at is we don’t have a nurse or health care professional on duty, so they can’t be too dependent on health care,” she said. “And we don’t want them to be too independent, because we want them to have goals to reach, since this is a goal-oriented program.”

Gooch said the program provides an energetic, positive environment for participants.

“The students and professors are all willing to help, and the participants help each other as well, as a sort of support group,” she said. “Some people do come back for other semesters — people usually come for two or three semesters to continue on with what they need.

“There’s a great rapport between the students and participants,” Gooch added. “Each participant is assigned a student for each discipline and they work with that student for the whole semester.”

While the intent is to offer therapies to help participants regain independence, the program also helps them learn to help themselves.

“We try to show them what’s involved in the community,” Gooch said. “We have great resources in Tompkins County and Ithaca, so when they are no longer attending classes, they can use the resources in the community.”

She also wanted to note that the Center for Life Skills is located off the Ithaca College campus — at Longview — because it is accessible for people. There also is an intergenerational program next door to the center, and the indoor pool at the location allows them to offer aquatic therapy when there are enough people to take part.

There is a cost — $500 per semester — to attend the program, but Gooch noted people shouldn’t let the cost deter them from taking part in the program. There is a monthly payment option and scholarships also are available for those who might have a financial need for such.

“We never turn anyone away for not being able to pay,” Gooch said. “This is not a money-making program.”

For more information or to schedule an evaluation, contact Gooch at (607) 375-6312 or, or visit Gooch encouraged people who are interested in receiving an evaluation to determine whether they can participate to call by Monday, Jan. 14.


To view the article on the Ithaca Times website, please follow the link provided below: 



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