CTC Welding, Auto Collision, and Automotive Depts. Help Make Life Easier for Stroke Patients

A participant receives a complimentary salon service at the Employment Expo for the Homeless.
(left to right) Columbus Technical College welding program manager Ronnie McBride and student Dayton Livingston work on retrofitting a van for use by Hughston Hospital’s rehabilitative services.

February 28, 2011

For Immediate Release: Students and faculty at Columbus Technical College’s welding, auto collision, and automotive departments are doing their part to help stroke victims and rehabilitation patients to a road of recovery. In a partnership with Hughston Hospital in Columbus, the students have modified the van for training purposes. The automatic transmission, engine and front end were removed and will be used for training in the automotive department. The body was first modified by cutting through the body and frame just behind the front seats. The remaining passenger compartment and body of the van are being reconstructed in a way that will allow Hughston Hospital employees to work with stroke patients and those in similar rehabilitative situations.

"The modified vehicle will be used for our patients at the hospital who may have difficulty getting into or out of a vehicle or require practice prior to being discharged home due to specific precautions, safety issues, and limited physical assistance from care-takers," said Marlene Chin, director of rehabilitation services at Hughston Hospital. "The patients/therapists’ goal is to increase functional independence and to decrease the burden of care after discharge. Many patients will be transported to/from medical visits while at home and the opportunity to provide structured car transfer training will be of great benefit to the patients and families that we serve."

The director of plant operations for Hughston, Ricky Hudson, is thrilled that Columbus Technical College has agreed to help with this project. He said buying a modified vehicle for this type of rehabilitation would have cost about 10-12 thousand dollars. Instead, Hughston is able to invest a fraction of the amount for parts and materials. In turn, students receive valuable hands-on training.

"That’s what a community does," said Hudson. "Everyone helps each other out. We are just so excited and appreciative."

Columbus Technical College welding, automotive, and auto collision students and faculty have been working on the van for about two months. Hughston is scheduled to pick the van up sometime in mid-March.