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Stroke Survivor Sees Improvement With Putnam Hospital Center Speech Therapy

Stroke victim Lorna Armbruster and Jenny Kalanz, a speech-language pathologist at Putnam Hospital Center.
Stroke victim Lorna Armbruster and Jenny Kalanz, a speech-language pathologist at Putnam Hospital Center. Photo Credit: Submitted

CARMEL, N.Y. – A former Putnam Hospital employee has discovered a new lease on life following a stroke and seizure disorder that left her unable to speak.

Lorna Armbruster continued speech therapy and has seen great improvement not only in speaking but in writing, reading and recall. 

“I’m trying to show how this (speech therapy) really helps people,” said Armbruster, who formerly worked at Putnam Hospital Center as the assistant director of nursing for surgical services. 

Jenny Kalanz, a speech-language pathologist at Putnam Hospital Center for more than 10 years, has worked with Armbruster from the start on skills that include repeating one- and two-word syllables and saying words and phrases from memory. 

“The old mentality was that a stroke patient’s level of function after six to nine months was their new norm,” Kalanz said. “We now know that there are changes in brain plasticity and if you continue working on a skill, you can make progress.” 

Kalanz also works with patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, post-concussive disorders and cancer. She provides cognitive therapy to TBI patients, helping them with strategy, organization, memory and attention. 

She trains Parkinson’s patients to speak louder using the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT). 

Armbruster’s daughter, Katherine Kittle, said the improvement she has seen in her mom is “incredible.” 

“The progress she makes here gives her so much confidence and to keep at it,” Kittle said. Armbruster agreed and is determined to sharpen her skills through speech therapy. “I want to be able to do everything before I had a stroke, so I have to keep going,” she said. 

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