Workout to Win

By Mark Walker, PT, CEEE/DOR, Orem Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing, Orem, UT
Each week, our residents are asked if they want to participate in a home exercise program prescribed by the Therapy department. These are in-room exercises with handouts provided by one of our physical, occupational, or speech therapists. If a resident chooses to participate in the program, they are given a punch card that helps them and us track if they completed their daily exercises. When the full punch card is completed, it is then entered into a bimonthly drawing for one of our prizes (massage pillow, water bottle, cup holder, coloring pencils, coloring book, Orem Rehab swag, etc.)

Each raffle drawing is done in the gym every other week, and we are seeing the buzz getting around. Last week, we had 17 participants from our residents here at Orem. This isn’t a program run by the therapist, so there is no impact on productivity or efficiency. Our therapy aides run this, and it gives them a program to take ownership over. We are seeing some huge success as residents look forward to their daily workouts. The staff is helping the residents complete their workouts and are letting us know when they have done so. Each resident who enters a completed punch card into the raffle is given either a chip, a Gatorade, or a treat, so everyone is a winner bimonthly. The cost is minimal, and we are even starting to see staff/families donate prizes for the raffle. It’s a fun way to get our residents engaged in exercise and improve their quality of life.

Congratulations to Our Newest SPARC Winner!

Kelly Janak, PT Student, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Graduation Date: August 2023

Read her winning Essay below:

Although health is typically viewed in a more physical sense, I have come to recognize and appreciate the more cognitive-emotional aspects as well. Many times, patients who have suffered an injury or are coping with life-changing diagnoses might experience a loss of control. One of the things that drew me to physical therapy is that it is a profession with the goal of empowering patients. Unlike other professions that beg patient cooperation while treatments are passively applied to the patient during the healing process, physical therapy teaches patients to heal themselves through a more active role. However, I have learned that without patient investment, physical therapy treatment is not as effective. Time engaged in therapy during the treatment session alone is not enough to provide a substantial impact. The patient must spend time training outside of the treatment sessions, otherwise the positive effect of physical therapy may grow stagnant. Without patient buy in and commitment, even the most ideal treatment plans will lack effectiveness. The patient must be motivated to take an active role in their health and to continue to train outside of appointments. Truly a large part of therapy involves establishing a therapeutic alliance with the patient and inspiring their engagement in the healing process. Although it’s undeniable that my education and training have expanded my knowledge and understanding of how to identify and treat patients with different diagnoses, it has also expanded my ability to motivate my patients, my understanding of how to relate to my patients, and willingness to seek the most effective treatments for each individual.

As I have learned more about the multitude of benefits that physical therapy can provide, I have gained a variety of reasons to support engagement in physical therapy. If a patient can understand the vast benefits of physical therapy, such as the improvements in health, functionality, longevity, and emotional well-being that exercise can provide, then they are much more likely to not only be driven to be engaged and compliant in their therapy experience, but also enjoy it and continue to exercise after discharge from physical therapy. It is also important to keep therapy exercises salient to the patient. Not everyone enjoys doing squats, bicep curls and abdominal crunches. For individuals who don’t enjoy these exercises, exercise can seem tedious and unappealing. But using creativity to create “non-conventional” exercises that appeals more to the patient’s personal interests can be more exciting. If the patient is doing treatment that directly relates to their hobbies, interests, and personal goals, they are much more likely to enjoy their experiences in physical therapy, which will make them more likely to do the work involved in order to accomplish the goals of their physical therapy program. For example, if the patient really enjoys gardening, they can be prescribed exercises pertaining to gardening so that the patient can be engaged in exercises that are meaningful to them and directly observe the correlation of their dedication to their treatments and their increased ability to engage in their activities that are important to them at a higher capability. I hope to provide a positive benefit to my patients in the form of helping them to see that their hard work can pay off in ways that are meaningful to their individual lives so that they can view exercise as something that is empowering rather than menial. I hope to not only improve their therapy experience but drive them to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle even after discharge as they strive for continued improvement in functional ability through motivation derived from things they love to do.

Patients will not be motivated by health care professionals that they do not trust. As part of the nature of the career, physical therapists spend much more time with patients than their counterparts from other health professions. This provides a substantial opportunity to either build a great therapeutic alliance, or tear it down. In pursuit of the first, I have learned that often the best way to establish patient trust is through understanding and openness. According to evidence, patients trust healthcare providers who they believe truly have the patient’s best interests at heart. However, in the hustle and bustle and time restraints of daily work life as a physical therapist, it can sometimes be difficult to take the time to establish an actual relationship with patients. In a career that specializes in people, it can become an unfortunate consequence to lose recognition of the sense of humanity that patients possess. But I think that if I continue to value each individual and recognize their inherent worth, I can maintain a recognition of the dignity that each human being possesses without losing sight of that in burnout. I will strive to always show compassion and patience and respect to each of my patients. Beyond that, I hope to continue to try to understand my patients on a deep level by trying to make a meaningful connection and by listening. My work with diverse populations has further affirmed the fact that every individual is unique and I can only know and understand each person and their needs by actively learning to understand them. I will also strive to maintain a personal sense of openness, honesty, and humility to further foster a healthy relationship. I hope that establishing authentic relationships with my patients will not only help them become more engaged in physical therapy and make the experience more enjoyable for them, but also encourage them to make more meaningful relationships with other individuals.

Lastly, and more obviously, it is important to seek out applicable current evidence-based practice and be in constant pursuit of personal growth within my role. Even with the best intentions, if I am not effective at my job, I will not be a very good physical therapist. Also, being an adept physical therapist can help with encourage patient investment in physical therapy. Patients will have a greater acceptance of physical therapy if they can witness the benefits that are provided from the treatments firsthand. Seeing as physical therapy is a relatively new profession which is constantly evolving, it is imperative to keep up with evidence-based practice by researching new treatment strategies that will be effective to implement in my patient population every day and to encourage co-workers to do the same. In order to best serve my patients, I recognize that it is my duty to be well-informed on effective treatment strategies that will benefit my patients and adjust my practices to develop alongside current research in order to ascertain that my treatments are effective for my patients. Along with this, I aspire to always be improving my clinical skills and knowledge. I will pursue increased proficiency in the realm of physical therapy so that I can develop into a professional who can provide the greatest benefit to my patients. I understand that they are trusting me to guide them towards better health and capability and I want to honor that by continuously improving my ability to deliver great service to my patients. I hope to become shrewder in identifying potential diagnoses and practices that might not be healthy for my patients and become more proficient on educating them on methods to improve their health. I hope to be successful in empowering them to lead a healthier life, even after they have finished with physical therapy so that they can be more free from the constraints and complications of poor health. By improving my knowledge and skills, I hope to effectively help them not only to return to their baseline health, but inspire them to continue to rise to a higher state of health so that they can enjoy their lives to a higher degree.
Through my devotion to patient motivation, relationship, and evidence-based practice and personal development, I hope to spark my patients to be empowered to take control of their own health, rather than maintain a passive role. I wish for them to be driven to lead a more healthy and full life in whatever capacity is available to them, so that they can enjoy the benefits in functionality, energy, emotion, and well-being. I hope to encourage them to see healthy living and improved function not as an unattainable goal or as undesirable work, but as a natural and enjoyable part of their everyday life.

Behind the Scenes Super Star: Soon Burnam

Submitted by Sacchin Bhatia, Therapy Resource
Soon Burnam is the Director of Licensing and Regulatory Services and has been with Ensign Services since 2003! She has always been a great partner to therapy and has helped support our entrepreneurial spirit by helping navigate the right path for exploring these new ideas. She lives our CAPLICO values in all aspects of her work and is a mentor to all who come in contact with her. She expresses Passion for learning as her favorite core value and feels she is always growing and learning.

On a more personal note, Soon was born in 1971 in Seoul, South Korea. She grew up in Irvine, Orange county and still calls Irvine home. She and her husband Tom, have four children aged 19, 17, 15 and 13. They have grown up coming to the Service Center since early childhood. When they were younger, they loved helping with some of the behind the scenes duties such as the scanning or photocopying. They too have been living and learning CAPLICO throughout their lives. Soon enjoys Italian food and loves “good ol’ southern comfort food.” While she is not into sports, after spending time with me, she’s now a Lakers fan (I convinced her 😊). Soon loves to travel and some of her favorite destinations have been Spain and Ireland. Her favorite movies are Top Gun, Indiana Jones, Breakfast club and anything from the 80’s. Her hobbies include reading, travel, crafts and spending as much time as possible with her kids. We are so grateful to call Soon our partner and friend. Thank you for all you do for us, Soon Burnam!

Welcome Jay Jupillo to the Keystone Therapy Recruiting Team

By Jamie Funk, Director of Therapy Recruiting

Jay has joined the Northeast Texas market as a therapy recruiter. While he is working directly for the market, my team and I are supporting him in any way possible, and he will be partnering closely with Ashley Keenan, our new Therapy Recruiting Resource.

From a young age, my father has always instilled in me to never stop learning. Because of this foundation, I have had an eclectic life. I was born in the Philippines and came to live in California when I was 2 years old. I then spent the majority of my life in Orange County. I attended Loara High School and received Autocad certifications in mechanical and architectural drafting. I then attended Fullerton College and received a certification in metallurgy and welding (to facilitate my intrigue in fabrication). Having a childhood desire to become a soldier, I then joined the U.S. Army (Reservist). When I returned from training, I married my girlfriend of seven years, transferred to Cal State University Fullerton, and received my BFA in Animation and Design.

By now, I was already working at Home Depot and had experience in customer service, management and HR and was ready for a career move. I knew that I did not want to pursue animation. My brother- in-law and sister were both already OT clinicians, and they felt that I would enjoy that career due to the use of art, imagination and working with people. So I enrolled in the COTA program at Stanbridge University in Irvine, then in 2014 I started my OT career (they were right). This career has been my passion. I love thinking outside the typical treatment session and having my residents do something totally different but functional.

In 2017, I applied for a COTA position at Seacliff Health and Rehab in Huntington Beach, California; a recruiter, Paul connected me with the DOR, Jenny Farley. That was the beginning of my career in an Ensign-affiliated facility. . Then in early 2019, when I mentioned to Jenny that we planned on moving to Texas, she then invited me to meet these loud Texans at the Newport Beach DOR meeting. That’s where I met Casey, the DOR for the Plano Resort. Two months later, my family and I moved to Plano, Texas. And we love it here. I’ve had the pleasure of working PRN at various facilities: Plano Resort, Lake Village, Heritage Gardens, Golden Acres, Beacon Harbor, and Rowlett Health and Rehab. Dana was the DOR at the time and took me in with open arms as her full-time COTA/ADOR. At the same time, I became an instructor at Mountain View College for the new COTA program. It’s been 18 years since I joined the Army, and I’m now a communications Sergeant for the 490th Civil Affairs Company.

I must say that moving to and living in Texas has been such a blessing. I have the opportunity to spend more time with my family. We took up fishing, kayaking, boating, archery and just enjoying the outdoors. I have two children; Jolie, my daughter, is 8 and loves school and Kung Fu. Kamren, my son, is 12 (going on 16) and enjoys all of our outdoor activities and is excelling in school. Sarah, our golden retriever, is a licensed therapy dog that has followed me in many facilities and continues to bring smiles and love to staff and residents. Roscoe, our dachshund, sadly passed away from old age but is always with us in spirit. My lovely wife works at UTD in HR and is a Recreational Therapist PRN. She has always been my greatest support.

Now that I have accepted the position as the Keystone Northeast Resource Recruiter, I look forward to meeting you all and building our Ensign family with great therapists.

Welcome Ashley Keenan to Our Therapy Recruiting Team

Ashley Keenan, SLP, Therapy Recruiting Resource-Keystone West, North, and Northeast, TX
My brother and I were raised by a single mom on 400 acres in central Texas, 30 minutes from the nearest gas station/grocery store. Though my mom worked full-time as a nurse, she also homeschooled me until high school. Even though she was already very busy, she drove me 45 miles one way, several days a week for five years to take art lessons, one of my passions in life.

I was in high school when a coach suggested to me that I should go to school to be a “speech therapist,” the first time I had ever heard of this profession. I honestly thought he was referencing how much I talked in his class, but he was serious. I am so thankful to this day because he introduced me to an amazing field. I also met and fell in love with my husband, Lane, in high school. We got engaged our senior year, in the middle of a severe storm during his family’s annual “Keenan Olympics.”

I received a small art scholarship and a small pageant scholarship to help with my first couple of semesters of school, but I worked full-time as a server/bartender the majority of my college career in order to pay my bills at Texas State University. During graduate school, when it became difficult for me to continue work, my husband worked full-time for Texas State, driving the tram, while also attending school full-time.

I first met our Keystone Therapy Recruiter, Richard Johnson, at the Texas Speech and Hearing Association conference in Austin, Texas during graduate school. I was inspired by Richard’s enthusiasm, but there were no facilities accepting SLP clinical fellows in my area at that time. So, I completed my CFY with another company. As soon as I saw the position pop up at San Marcos Rehabilitation and Healthcare for a full-time SLP, I contacted Richard, who connected me with Shaun Baldwin, DOR at the time.

SMRH has had a huge impact on who I am as a clinician, leader, and person in general. In my time there, I had two sweet babies, received multiple certifications in my field, followed after Shaun as Director of the Rehabilitation department, grew our team from seven to 18 full-time therapy staff members, and met many wonderful friends/colleagues. I honestly thought I would never leave.

However, when the Therapy Recruiting Resource position opened up, I knew I had to express my interest. My husband and I, being religious, felt a calling to move in a different direction with both of our careers, at the same time, as well as geographically to be closer to family. We are currently searching for our new home in the DFW area. Our family now consists of a 3-year-old (our son, Dean), a 4-month-old (our daughter, Caroline), one cat named Daphne, and a dog named Kait. We all enjoy the outdoors, spending time together as a family, “doing chores” (as my son refers to it) on my in-laws’ farm, and weekend adventures to new places. We are ecstatic to start our new life here in the DFW area, and I am so happy to get to know everyone in my new role as Keystone Therapy Recruiting Resource.

Meet Roya Eskandari

By Jamie Funk, Director of Therapy Recruiting
Roya joined the Ensign Services, Inc. Service Center seven years ago and has held five different roles since then! Currently, Roya has a hybrid role, which includes serving as an HR resource as well as
recruiting for service center staff. Roya also manages our immigration process and many H1B visas for therapist new hires.

Prior to joining the service center, Roya obtained a dual degree from Cal State Fullerton in Human Resources and Women’s Studies. She worked at Hallmark Rehabilitation (a subsidiary of Skilled Healthcare) until it was acquired by Genesis. She loved her time at Hallmark and felt like she was at home there and her colleagues were family. Roya had many roles at Hallmark, including Recruiting Coordinator, Business Process Analyst, Awards & Recognition, and Data & Analytics. She also handled the social media accounts for Hallmark. Upon leaving the company after the acquisition, Roya thought she might never find another work home!

Fortunately, many of Roya’s former Hallmark colleagues ended up finding their own work homes at the Ensign Service Center or at one of our affiliated facilities, and Roya was hearing a lot of buzz about the unique culture, family feeling, and passionate colleagues at this organization. She interviewed for a role at the service center and has been part of us ever since!

Her favorite part of the job is the “people part,” and Roya feels huge satisfaction in helping our people in the field solve a problem, find information to answer a question, create a better or more efficient work process, or anything else they have a need for.

When interviewing potential service center employees, Roya is frequently asked “Why are you here?” She is happy to answer that we have a wonderful culture where all of our core values create an environment where our people are empowered to create their own destinies. She also talks a lot about how much her colleagues genuinely love each other, love their jobs, and love our organization. At a recent new-hire orientation at the Service Center, there were several guest speakers from Therapy, Compliance, and other Service Center departments. After they had all had an opportunity to speak, Roya asked if the class members could feel the love — it was that palpable in the room.

When not at work, Roya is busy raising a very active 1-year-old girl named Alina. Roya’s favorite color is scarlet, and if you are ever looking for someone to go get sushi with, she is your go-to! Pre-baby, Roya and her husband enjoyed finding small, out-of-the-way vineyards and wineries and going wine tasting. Their dream is to someday buy a small vineyard that they can retire to and where they can make their own wine.

Roya’s wish for everyone out in the field is for you to view her as a general Service Center resource. If you don’t know who to call for a solution to a problem, Roya will help you get in touch with the service center contact most able to assist in your unique situation. She is also extremely knowledgeable on human resources issues and can advise on things like formatting an offer letter, solving a human resources issue, answering questions about H1B visas, and any other “people-related” question!

Therapist Profile: Jeffrey Montesclaros, DOR, Cloverdale Healthcare

The Red Bike: A Short Story of Redemption from Depression
My story is not about depression but more about resilience. Through our life experience, my wife and I became very resilient and we developed a problem-solver mindset.

Our story started in 2005 as newlyweds. My wife, Raissa, had this idea of migrating to the United States to pursue her adventure of traveling. Prior to that, I already had a stable job working as a team supervisor for a call center, and my wife was already enrolled by her parents to be a doctor. Our parents were not very hopeful that we would make it in Uncle Sam’s land. But my wife and I are stubborn. Needless to say, we won that battle, as we ended up in a very small town in Guymon, Oklahoma, with a population of less than 10,000. I worked multiple jobs, from a meat packing factory QA supervisor, to Walmart department manager, to liquor store attendant, to mowing lawns and doing carpentry work on weekends while my wife worked at a small hospital as a lab medical technologist. Still in our 20s, we bought our first house in 2009 in a bigger city, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Everything was set and planned, from having a stable job to getting reliable cars and having our first home.

Now we were ready to grow our family. And yes, we did. After two miscarriages, we finally had a child named Justin, and he was our bundle of joy in 2012. Sad to say “had” because the only thing that was not according to plan was having a child with a rare genetic disorder who only lived to be 18 months old. Justin was born with peroxisomal biogenesis disorder, which affects multiple systems in the body. Our little Justin suffered from frequent seizures, hypotonia, liver and kidney issues, blindness and many other health issues. He was fed through a G tube and later had a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.
Through meeting various medical professionals, I then decided to go back to school to become a therapist. As you probably have an idea already, my child would never be able to walk, talk and experience things, let alone go to school, so I always pretended that I was going to school for him, and I promised myself not to fail him. I graduated Cum Laude but he was not there to see it.

My wife and I got so depressed during his passing. We were very devastated, to the point that we lost interest in doing things. Self-care was not there anymore. Our lawn looked like a scene from Jumanji because the grass was so tall. We were growing apart everyday as we continued to grieve the loss of a child.

One day, I came across a video about an Ironman triathlon, and it inspired me so much that I encouraged my wife to do a triathlon as she was gutsier than I. I got her a red aluminum road bike, and my first awkward, encouraging words were “Ride this or I am leaving.” When I look back, I think these were such harsh words, but hey, try dealing with a loss and it will make you say or do things that don’t make sense.

Fast forward to 2015; we moved to Santa Rosa, California, and I found work as a COTA in Cloverdale Healthcare Center. It paved the way for me in becoming the Director of Rehab, and it inspired me to work harder as we also welcomed our baby girl named Juliana, through adoption at around the same time. This is just the first chapter of my story. And as I continue with this journey with the new role I am taking, I will continue to adopt the CAPLICO culture. I will aspire to build more leaders. And I will continue to be the person that both Justin and Juliana will be proud to call their Dad.

Behind the Scenes Superstar: Lori Whitman

This month, we are pleased to spotlight an amazing resource and friend, Lori Whitman. Lori is our accounts payable resource and provides incredible support to our therapy department.

Lori just celebrated her 9th anniversary with Ensign Services in May and lives our culture to its fullest. You can see her expressions of culture and focuses during simple interactions over e-mail with a nugget typically added to her signature line, which she changes up to recognize the seasons and the holidays, as well.

Lori is a true California native and grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. She is one of three with an older sister and younger brother. She has been living in Aliso Viejo, CA for 29 years, where she enjoys her weekends hiking with girlfriends and exploring new places, spending time with friends and family and an occasional off-roading jeep adventure with her husband! These off-roading adventures have taken them to beautiful places that they may not have seen otherwise and it has sparked an interest in buying an RV to take them to other areas throughout the United States, which they hope to do next year.

Lori has two sons and her younger son, Austin is 27 and getting married to Kayla in October this year up in Lake Arrowhead. Austin is pursuing his Masters of Family Therapy at Cal State Long Beach, which is Lori’s alma mater. Her older son, Ryan, is 36 and lives in Panama City, Florida. Lori’s mom lives in an IL/AL in Huntington Beach and she also spends time helping her mom and enjoying moments together.

When asked about what she loves most about her job, Lori shared that she loves the interactions with her co-workers and all the people she supports at her WA facilities as well as the Service Center departments and field. She then shot some therapy love our way by saying, “My favorite, of course, is the AP support for our Therapy Department. It puts a smile on my face knowing I am helping in some small way by paying invoices for Seminars/Educational materials for our nurses and therapy resources who bring new innovations to our facilities to help the residents.”

For those who attended this year’s Therapy Leadership Experience in April, you may have had the opportunity to interact with Lori a little bit during the Lip Sync contest. Lori was one of our judges and expressed that it warms her heart to see how much fun everyone was having. If you had the chance to meet her, you’ll notice that she is fit and healthy, which she attributes to the hiking on local trails, hiking on the beach, and working out in the gym. She has also finished many 10Ks and a few half-marathons over the years. Lori is such a positive person and expresses gratitude for her many blessings, which surely contributes to her well-being.

We are all truly blessed to have Lori Whitman a part of our lives as our AP resource and our friend. We are so grateful for everything she does for us. Lori makes US better.

Congratulations to Our New Keystone CTOs!

Submitted by Jon Anderson, Senior Therapy Resource
Jennifer Henderson, OTR, DOR, Parklane West, San Antonio, TX
Jennifer Henderson, OTR, DOR at Parklane West, has been with our organization since 2016. Jennifer started out her career as a high school math teacher and then later decided to become an OT because she felt a calling to help older adults. During the Legend acquisition, she came over as a DOR from Sonterra Healthcare Center in San Antonio, Texas, and later decided to take a short break and become a full-time treating OT who helped several of our facilities in the San Antonio area. However, another opportunity landed in our laps with Parklane West, and Jennifer stepped up and once again became a DOR leading Parklane Therapy. Parklane started with a sleepy therapy program with only a few therapists, and today Jennifer has grown it to over 20 therapists/therapist assistants! Jennifer launched and trailblazed the Outpatient Therapy Program at Parklane before Outpatient was even a focus for the organization, and she has routinely mentored new DORs and helped other affiliates launch their outpatient programs. Jennifer has a passion for LTC programming and has worked with her team to launch our award-winning Abilities Care Approach dementia program with outstanding results impacting the facilities QMs and annual survey. Parklane is routinely and consistently in the top 1/3 of all therapy metrics within Keystone and has maintained a 5-star rating with QMs throughout the most recent year. Congrats, Jennifer, for reaching CTO!

Casey Murphy, PT, DOR, Healthcare Resort of Plano, TX
Casey has been with Keystone-affiliated facilities for a little over four years. He began his journey as a field therapy resource and moved into a DOR/resource hybrid role at the Healthcare Resort of Plano when an urgent need emerged. As he saw the potential and needs of the facility grow, he made the decision to solely take on the DOR role, and the results the facility has seen since he made this decision have been phenomenal. Casey’s development of systems for PDPM and Managed Care have helped the facility effectively manage their skilled short-term patients, and he frequently wears a Case Manager hat among many others. Casey’s embracement of Outpatient programming is what has really set them afire! What started out as just a few patients here and there has turned into an outpatient center that serves the entire community, and a viable line of business for HCR Plano. Casey takes the leadership development component of his role very seriously. He has started training multiple therapists in his facility on culture, financial and NetHealth basics, taking the time to help all those who express an interest in growth. He models Intelligent Risk Taking with his own professional development. Casey became certified in Geriatric Exercise, is Lymphedema certified, and is currently an NCS/EMG resident. Casey has presented on multiple market and global calls about outpatient development and leadership development. Even with his many hats, he takes the time to individually answer all questions from other therapists and DORs about outpatient and has helped many facilities in Keystone become successful. He is a true owner of his program, his team, and their results. Congratulations, Casey, for reaching CTO!

Quin Hall, SLP, DOR, Legend Oaks Healthcare, Paris, TX
Quin Hall started as a treating SLP at Legends Ennis, in Ennis, Texas, where he took their speech program to new heights in a few short months. He took the opportunity as the Director of Rehabilitation at Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Paris, Texas, in November 2020. At the time he joined the team, there were only five therapists, and the department was struggling with culture, programming, and metrics. Now they are 13 strong and growing while being fiercely competitive in metrics and mentoring other buildings in how to recreate some of their programs. The culture that Quin has created in the Therapy department has spread throughout the entire facility. Therapy has truly become the heart of the building. He embraces CAPLICO by celebrating his team daily, loving them well, and pushing them to become the best versions of themselves. He also is the first to step up and take ownership when there are growth opportunities for himself. Quin has reached out to many of his cluster and market partners to share his secrets to the magic they have created with thriving group programs, a phenomenal long-term programming menu, and an incredibly strong speech program. You may have also seen him on the FlagPOST sharing speech group ideas, featured in the speech newsletter, or on the Long-Term Care Think Tank sharing about groups. Quin has taken on students and interns to both feed his staffing needs and pour back into his profession. He has an infectious spirit that keeps his team and facility motivated and excited to work. Congratulations, Quin, for reaching CTO!

Monica Sharp, PTA, TPM, Mesa Springs, Abilene, TX
Monica Sharp joined Wisteria Place in Abilene, Texas in October 2015 following a role in Fort Worth with pediatrics. She returned to Abilene to be near family and has been a part of our Keystone family in Abilene ever since. She jumped right in as a treating therapist assistant and embodied the culture at Wisteria to make a difference in the lives of our residents there. When the opportunity for a therapy program manager opened up at nearby Mesa Springs, Monica seized the moment and has been the TPM there since August 2018. When she took the helm of the team, there were seven therapists in the department. She has grown the team to 12 therapists and has led them to the top in the state for many therapy metrics. Under her leadership, they have significantly improved their long-term care programming, and the positive culture is apparent. Monica has worked closely with the ED and DON to lead Mesa Springs with zero-deficiency surveys, significant upswings in culture and care, and an overall sense of love throughout the building. Monica has demonstrated significant self-growth this year as well, looking inward to improve metrics and take ownership during difficult times. She helped the facility when the ice storm of 2021 left the building without power and water and has worked in Housekeeping and Nursing when COVID outbreaks threatened care. Monica has recently joined the managed care committee and has reached out to assist with education with her cluster and market partners. She has become a true owner of her department and their metrics while leading others to do the same. Congratulations, Monica, for reaching CTO!

Megan Wickliff, OTR, DOR, The Phoenix Post Acute Care, Texas City, TX
Allow me to introduce you to Megan Wickliff. There is no way to truly capture the true greatness of Megan within this paragraph, but I hope to provide a level of insight into the caliber of leadership she possesses. Megan has been the DOR of the Phoenix Healthcare and Rehab facility for over five years. This facility has come through many challenges, and Megan has stoically remained the pillar of strength for so many. She has made it her mission to make sure Therapy is never a contributor to the effects of having a silo. She crosses the invisible lines of duties and is always readily available to lend a hand in the Nursing, Social Services, Marketing, and Activities departments. There have been long periods of time that the facility may have been without an IDT, so Megan would take charge of leading meetings and carrying out any level of follow-up that was needed. To know Megan is to know a woman who does not have to say many words nor stand under the spotlight for her impact to be noticed. Her sheer level of humility and actionable service is beyond admirable. Megan is currently working on her Ph.D., as she has such a strong passion for learning and sharpening her level of leadership. I would be remiss to not mention that even though Megan leads the charge for several duties within her facility, she still has metrics worth bragging about. Congratulations, Megan, on receiving CTO; you are more than deserving of such a high honor!

Shayla Goode, SLP, DOR, Copperfield Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Houston, TX
Shayla Goode has been at the Copperfield facility for over four years. She first began her role as a staff SLP, shortly after she transitioned into the role of ADOR. Shayla would playfully say that she didn’t think she could ever be ready to fill a role as the DOR. The time came, and with a gentle push, Shayla accepted the position of DOR at the Copperfield facility. For those not familiar with this facility, I must share that they have been the facility to watch when it comes to managed care penetration in the Keystone East market. They have been the drivers for navigating efficient ways to manage the needs of those patients. Shayla has played a pivotal role in building such a strong foundational relationship with each of her case managers. She has led the charge of educating not only her Rehab team, but also the IDT about how to be quality partners with our case managers. I want to make sure I don’t diminish her other incredible accomplishments such as being a ranked department in lowest CPM, highest PNSD, highest productivity and consistently finishing in the top 4 for Keystone East Outpatient revenue. What speaks even louder than the metrics that I shared is the level of tenure she has with her Rehab team. Her team has continued to grow, and with great pride she shares that her turnover rate is incredibly low. Shayla knows the positive effects of leadership development, and that was a major goal of hers in 2021. She truly took the time to grow her ADOR, and she has redesigned the role to reflect the vision that she has for the future of the department. This is only the beginning of Shayla’s journey, and becoming CTO is an honor that is very well-deserved.

Congratulations to Our Newest SPARC Winner!

Kathryn Russell, PT Student, AT Still University, Mesa, AZ — Grad Date: June 2022
Read Her Awesome Essay Below:
A spark in the lives of my patients — a metaphor appreciably open to interpretation. I guess I have asked myself a parallel question but framed in a different way: how will I make a meaningful positive impact on my patients that endures beyond their physical therapy encounter? Now, my education and training, while both instrumental in driving the principles I want to implement in my practice, do not act entirely to answer the question to its fullest, nor should they. My personal objectives that were not taught are the ones I believe make me stand out to patients, and maybe make me a spark in their lives, but it seems selfish to aim to be the spark in someone’s life. That implies that I chose physical therapy for me, rather than for others.

This is why I’ve included my own version of the question, slightly reframed. I don’t seek to be the sole reason someone improves, heals, or has less pain. My goal is instead that each patient discovers the value of taking on that responsibility for themselves even after they are discharged from my care. I’ll acknowledge that’s a cliché goal, and a lofty one at that. If there’s anything my education and training have taught me, though, it’s that the values of our profession have to be intricately weaved into the patient’s existing lifestyle for meaningful and persevering change to take place.

Making those connections with the patient to increase the likelihood of them assuming the responsibility for their own health should always start with education, combines movement, and finally always considers extraneous factors of healing.

I was taught in PT school the value of providing education to the patient, but I’ve always had the most passion about this piece anyway. This is the component I am most excited to write about to share with you, and the one I am always eager to incorporate in the clinic with patients. I’m good at being a student — I guess that’s why I’ve been in school for the last two decades without a break. Only recently, though, did I consider how often I am also offered the opportunity to be the teacher, as well. I take pride in being able to take full advantage of the opportunity to incorporate a dose of education about a patient’s injury/condition and about the body’s role in healing. The thing that makes it stick, and actually drives a patient to assume their health responsibility, is to limit medical jargon, and capitalize on the body’s resilience. This strategy makes it an accessible and positive experience, thus empowering them to want to learn more.

My goal is to act as the constant reminder that knowledge is power, the body is strong, and there is more than one correct way to journey through recovery. I do think this is an area that we have the opportunity to improve upon as a profession due to the current disappointingly standard practice to scare our patients into compliance and use outdated diagnostic terminology that actually enables kinesiophobia.

That brings me to my next key component of influencing an individual’s health responsibility: mixing in movement, and truly using it as medicine (not just because it sounds catchy). My guiding principles for this are nothing new; I did not reinvent the wheel. I aim to find activities the patient already likes to do, combine exercises into daily activities, and remind the patient how the exercise is relevant to them. They’re simple, and they are effective for serving the purpose of creating lasting change.

Education and movement are the two leading values in the profession of physical therapy that most practicing clinicians are aware of and using to some extent. However, if we do not consider the extraneous factors in people’s lives that guide not only their micro-level decision-making but also their healing experience as a whole, then we will fail our patients. Again, I think this is an area where I see room for improvement within our profession, and that I aim to change by at least incorporating it into my practice first. Essentially, I aim to seek out what else can we offer to patients to facilitate their healing. We must consider all the senses that are stimulated when a patient comes into the practice. What is the surrounding, what is the simplicity of accessing the clinic, what is the language that is used by the front office staff? Do these things create an atmosphere of healing? We cannot expect patients to heal in a vacuum of reality. If a patient doesn’t feel at ease, if they had difficulty finding the area or dealing with technology, or if they feel rushed or patronized, it will lend to their perception of their physical therapy experience. Whether we like it or not, we all subconsciously contribute to the narrative that drives our healing, positive or negative. So, it is a responsibility to consider everything that adds to that narrative.

The healing experience is different for everyone and I believe it is my responsibility as a physical therapist to adapt my treatment strategy to serve each patient best using these three core pillars. Understanding this at an individual level is the most effective way to create that spark that instills the health responsibility that contributes to lasting change. The physical therapist is a pawn in leading the patient to understand their healing, not the individual who cures them. All I am doing as their physical therapist is providing them the knowledge and direction to make informed decisions regarding their movement and self-care, and providing the space that facilitates their healing. I want my patients to see their whole physical therapy experience as the spark that ignited a passion for being the expert of their body — healing it, learning it, listening to it.