From NBCOT News Release: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Wins Prestigious NBCOT Impact Award

Congratulations Patty Fantauzzo, CTO/COTA/L, TPM, Julia Temple, Englewood, CO

Gaithersburg, MD: The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT®) announces Patricia “Patty” Fantauzzo, COTA/L, a certified occupational therapy assistant from Castle Rock, CO, has won the 2022 NBCOT Impact Award. This award recognizes certified occupational therapy (OT) practitioners who demonstrate exceptional professional commitment through their dedication, hard work, and outstanding OT skills to improve their clients’ overall life satisfaction.

Patty received the NBCOT Impact Award because of her dedication to providing services for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Patty’s colleague Malissa Sanchez, COTA/L, nominated her for the award. At Julia Temple Healthcare, Patty created a therapy program that uses the Abilities Care Approach to ensure long-term care residents who have Alzheimer’s and dementia progress through the disease process with dignity and comfort while maintaining their highest practicable level of cognitive and physical function. Prior to Patty’s involvement, long-term care residents with cognitive impairments at Julia Temple were less likely to receive skilled therapy services. Patty’s approach to providing care is to focus on the residents’ remaining abilities instead of their deficits and to consider what the resident can do or may do based on their preferences. Patty’s team of therapists embraced this philosophy and as a result, they completely transformed the therapy department and the facility as a whole. Through this approach, therapists and physicians also have a better understanding of each resident’s individual abilities and needs, which has enabled them to interact with residents in a more meaningful way. Several program outcomes can be partly traced back to Patty’s work, including a reduction in resident altercations, increased resident independence with certain tasks, and fewer prescriptions for psychotropic medications.

Patty earned her national OT certification in 1995. She is the Therapy Program Manager and Chief Therapy Officer (our highest designation for a Therapy Leader) at Julia Temple Healthcare in Colorado. Patty has shared her knowledge on dementia programming at Colorado Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference and to dementia support groups and practitioners at Julia Temple. She also assisted two sister facilities in introducing dementia programming to their long-term care services. Patty has received several awards for her work, including the Agatha Jackson COTA Award of Excellence from the Colorado Occupational Therapy Association and the COTA of the Year award from the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association.

For more information about the NBCOT Impact Award, visit

The Hills Got Skills 2.0

By Sadaf Roodbaei, NHA, MS CCC-SLP; Angelica Reyes, RN, DON; Paul Emerson Baloy OTD, OTR/L, DOR
The Hills Post-Acute held its second annual skills fair for our nursing staff on Thursday, Sept 15, 2022. This year’s theme was cunningly conceptualized as Circus Carnival. Our leaders Sadaf, ED and Angie, DON, with the support of all the department heads, creatively put together the circus carnival, themed Passion for Learning, as an experience for all our nursing staff to enjoy. No details were forgotten. They had everything from cotton candy machines, candy claw machine, hotdog warmers, lots of balloons, popcorn maker, circus decor, food and games, which were all set up to make the most of the clever and innovative event.

With the unwavering support from vendor and cluster partners, as well as resources, booths were assigned to discuss, educate and demonstrate specific information on skills to refresh and revitalize our nursing staff’s clinical competencies, which translates into continuing to provide of quality, top-notch care to our residents. The skills training content and competency checklist were strategically based on past survey opportunities, facility assessment and current device and equipment training. This ambitious feat was once again satisfactorily completed for the books! A testament in the pursuit of elevating post-acute care in the eyes of the world.

Let’s Talk Long-Term Care Programming: Tips and Tricks for SLPs working with Dementia

By Nicole King MA, CCC-SLP, Julia Temple Health Care Center, Englewood, CO
Use meal times to your advantage! Not only can you check in on your swallowing patients, but it is a great time to address following directions, sequencing, and attention during simple functional tasks — such as adding cream and sugar to their coffee, hand hygiene, cutting up their food, etc.
It is also a great time to address communication and social interactions. The facility is their home. Tasks that might not be functional for your skilled population are functional and meaningful in LTC and memory care neighborhoods — for example, deciding which snack they want, finding their room, participating in activities, and deciding when and where they will eat.

Partner up with Activities or the Chaplain. They can provide the task, but you can provide the skilled eye, environmental modifications, and dynamic cueing that allows the residents to participate in a meaningful and engaged way. Maybe your restless patient needs to be able to come and go from the area, or certain residents shouldn’t sit near each other. It could be the resident needs parallel involvement that allows them to participate but with less environmental stimuli and/or distractions.

Don’t be afraid to “hang out” in the memory care neighborhood. Using a naturalistic approach allows you to see patterns in behavior, identify triggers of agitation, find other patients to evaluate, and get to know the staff better. I also try to do my documentation there because it provides me with more time to observe and engage.

Take credit for what you are doing! Don’t assume that the intervention or strategy is obvious to everyone. Sometimes the smallest change can make all the difference. At JT, we had a patient who played with her food during meals and it upset nearby residents. After assessing her response to her environment over a few meals and analyzing how she engaged with her surroundings and staff, it hit me. She only played with her food on the days her appetite was low. It was her way of letting us know she was full.

Think outside the box and step out of your comfort zone! Let go of the idea that your therapy should look a certain way. Language and communication opportunities are everywhere. Remember it isn’t always about restoring lost skills/function, but changing the environment or how we interact with them, or creating opportunities for them to succeed based on the skills they still have.

Documentation. We all know documentation is important, but with LTC therapy and skilled maintenance, it is crucial. To an outsider, it might look like you just sat next to a patient during an activity. But what you actually did was “facilitated optimal patient participation during preferred leisure task by incorporating dynamic cueing hierarchy, environmental modifications, errorless learning techniques, and spared skills.” Always document the functions or presentations that you assessed in order to know what to do, and exactly how what you saw guided the interventions you selected. The skill lies in the assessment you performed, and how you acted on that assessment.

Goals. The questions I get asked most frequently are related to setting goals. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Patient will demonstrate ability to use verbal and nonverbal communication to make decisions related to preferences during care tasks and daily routine with MOD A to facilitate highest level of independence on nursing unit
  • Patient will maintain ability to complete 3-4 conversational exchanges related to direct and observable topics using multisensory stimuli in order to reduce risk of social isolation and decrease in meaningful interactions
  • Patient will maintain current level of cognitive communication function to actively participate (following along with handout, switching between tasks, singing along, etc.) in weekly worship service with MIN-MOD A in order to preserve quality of life and highest level of independence with leisure activities of choice
  • And finally, remember that being able to support ongoing therapy for maintaining function requires evidence that only you can do what needs to be done. Once the patient’s function looks consistent, or what you need to do changes very little from session to session then it’s time to phase yourself out and hand over those activities to others.

Educational Nugget: Association Physical Activity and Risk of Depression

Submitted by Jessica Foster, Therapy Resource, Bandera, Arizona
What are they saying? (**Definition of PA – Physical Activity)
The Message
The connection between physical activity and a lower risk of depression is well-known, but less is understood about the extent to which higher amounts of PA result in lower risks for depression. Researchers who analyzed the results of 15 studies involving more than 190,000 participants believe they’ve come closer to an answer: Yes, there is a dose-response relationship, they write, but it’s most significant (and predictable) at the lower end of the PA spectrum. Overall, they assert, if less-active adults in the studies had met current PA recommendations, one in nine cases of depression could’ve been prevented.

Why It Matters
Authors believe that establishing the dose-response relationship between PA and depression could be an important tool for health care providers and others in sharing the benefits of even modest amounts of PA, “especially to inactive individuals who may perceive the current recommended target as unrealistic,” they write.

More from the Study
Pinpointing the reasons for PA’s effects on depression were outside the scope of the study, but authors speculate that they could include neuro-endocrine and inflammatory responses, improved physical self-perceptions and more social interactions, and the effects of greater time spent in green spaces. The interplay of these factors needs more study, they add, particularly when considering how individuals with less access to green spaces and greater exposure to noise pollution may experience reduced mental health benefits.

Keep in Mind …
The study is not without its limitations, according to authors. Among them: PA levels were self-reported, data was limited at higher levels of PA, and data was lacking for analysis of demographic subgroups, including those from lower- and middle-income countries.

Introducing LSVT eLOUD Speech Therapy Program

Submitted by Elyse Matson, MA CCC-SLP, SLP Resource
Carmel Mountain Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in San Diego, CA, announces the launch of their new LSVT eLOUD outpatient speech therapy program via telepractice! (have photo)

On Saturday, April 9, the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego (PASD) hosted their 20th annual Step-by-Step 5K Walk. This event funds PASD to provide thousands of critical resources to individuals with Parkinson’s locally. Including over 1,000 participants and 40 exhibitors and sponsors, this event was an incredible testament to the strength and dedication of the Parkinson’s community here in San Diego.

Carmel Mountain Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center had the opportunity to sponsor this event through promotion of their new LSVT eLOUD telehealth outpatient program pioneered by Speech-Language Pathologist Emory D’Andrea.

LSVT eLOUD is clinically proven to be as effective in improving vocal loudness and overall speech intelligibility in individuals with Parkinson’s as when the program is provided in person. The difference? eLOUD is provided via

Throughout the pandemic, our skilled nursing facilities have phased in and out of outbreaks and “red zones.” This has not only made it challenging for therapists to provide outpatient therapy, but more importantly, has deterred individuals with comorbidities from traveling to a clinic due to the risk of exposure. The goal of LSVT eLOUD via telepractice is to break these barriers by increasing accessibility, enhance feasibility (intense dodge 16 one-hour sessions in one month), increase frequency of long-term follow-up, and diminish the physical and mental burden of traveling to clinics.

Through LSVT eLOUD, we are excited to empower more people with Parkinson’s disease to live LOUDER and BETTER lives! Contact:

When the Going gets Tough, Keystone Gets Tougher

Submitted by Kari Rhodes, MS, CCC-SLP, Therapy Resource, Keystone West Texas
When the fog lifted from our initial COVID outbreaks in 2020, we breathed a sigh of collective relief. Vaccines were coming, cases were dropping, and visitations were resuming. We thought the worst was over. Small outbreaks here and there were managed, and PPE was easier to find.

Little did we know that the Omicron variant was going to wreak the havoc that it has on our facilities. As we ended 2021 and entered 2022, outbreaks were looming large yet again, affecting residents and more staff than ever before. As we have seen staffing shortages in nursing, we are seeing the effects of unprecedented therapist shortages. As we struggle to find a balance to avoid burnout and meet the needs of our ladies and gentlemen, the Keystone Therapy Markets have worked hard to get tougher!

At a small gathering of Keystone Therapy Resources in San Antonio in December, we talked openly about how we can best support each other in times of need. There were honest conversations about asking for help, text threads with motivating statements, and a lot of loving competition between the recently separated markets. In times of high levels of burnout, it often seems like a contraindication to challenge each other. However, the extra challenges put forth between us and a healthy amount of friendly competition work well to spur us on to do better work for each other, our teams, and our residents. Additionally, the open level of communication allows each member of the team to feel heard and supported, a necessary component of forging onward through the crises at hand. These methods of support then trickle out to our clinical resources, our market leads, and our floor staff.

As we tell the family members of our residents frequently, you cannot care for someone else if you are not caring for yourself! Taking time to rest and surrounding yourself with others who support you are essential for being essential personnel. When times in Keystone are tough, we are tougher because we are better together!

Walla Walla, Washington is a Hidden Gem!

Walla Walla Valley has much to offer its residents and visitors. Miles of road and mountain biking trails are available for cyclists of all abilities. For those who like to move fast or experience speed from the bleachers, head out to the local drag racing strip. In the winter, Bluewood Ski Area is a gathering place for many of the locals who enjoy skiing and snowboarding on a less crowded mountain. There are 120 wineries in Walla Walla Valley. You can go on tasting tours, drive through the vineyards for spectacular views, or head out to the many restaurants that serve wines from the local wineries. Many city parks including a dog park are available to residents and visitors. Lakes in the area provide places for hiking, camping, fishing, and paddle boarding. This truly is a wonderful place to live and work. 

Another great place In Walla Walla is Park Manor Rehabilitation Center. A skilled nursing facility that some residents of Walla Walla call home or come for a short time to recover before heading back home. Park Manor has a strong nursing and therapy team and are looking for a Speech Language Pathologist to join the them. Come see what Walla Walla and Park Manor have to offer!

Pacific Care - Grays Harbor Now Hiring!

What do Kurt Cobain (Alternative Rock Star), Bryan Danielson (WWF wrestler Daniel Bryan) and Peter Norton (Norton Anti-Virus) have in common? They are all from Aberdeen WA, Grays Harbor county. Grays Harbor is also known for its history in the lumber industry, top surfing spots on the Washington coast, amazing cranberry bogs, and some of the best offshore fishing and clamming in Washington State. Only an hour away from Olympia on the scenic Olympic highway. Quaint communities make up all of Grays Harbor and the residents love living in and being from the area.

Among these communities in Hoquiam, WA, Pacific Care and Rehabilitation is a skilled nursing facility that provides the best therapy and nursing services in the area. The staff at Pacific Care love their residents and live their mission to dignify long-term care and skilled rehab in the eyes of the world.

They have an opening on their in-house therapy team for an Occupational therapist. The facility is locally owned and operated with decisions made by local leaders. Let your voice be heard and be able to practice at the top of your license. Be a part of amazing clinical development, career growth, and leadership training opportunities. Come be part of something great! 

Pacific Care is currently offering an amazing career opportunity for an Occupational Therapist. Find out more about this amazing opportunity and browse our complete list of therapy job opportunities.

Revitalized Vital Signs! The Winners Are…..

By Tamala Sammons, M.A. CCC-SLP, Senior Therapy Resource
A huge thank-you to everyone who submitted information on how vital signs in therapy are being integrated at their facilities. We had amazing entries from across the organization. We were blown away by how vital signs have become such an integral piece of therapy services. We read the most clinically comprehensive documentation and saw how decisions around care were driven by vital signs during therapy sessions. We also were impressed on how vital signs data collected in therapy was used for IDT communication to ensure the very best collaborative care.

Overall we want to thank everyone – whether you submitted something in or not – for your focus on providing the best care using all resources, including integrating vital signs.

Here are this year’s Revitalized Vital Signs champions! Please join me in congratulating and celebrating the following facilities:

Vital Signs Grand Champions

● Shawnee PARC – Angie Taylor, Therapy Leader
● The Oaks at Lakewood – Glenn Aricaya, Therapy Leader
● Keystone Ridge – Tara Meyerpeter, Therapy Leader
● Cedar Pointe – Dustin Rex, Therapy Leader
● Legend Oaks Waxahachie – Evette Ramirez, Therapy Leader
● City Creek Post-Acute – Ray Yarman, Therapy Leader
● San Marcos Rehab – Ashley Keenan, Therapy Leader
● Rowlett Health and Rehab – Dana Pike, Therapy Leader
● Hays Nursing and Rehab – Reed Edwards, Therapy Leader
● Victoria Post-Acute – Dawn Thompson, Therapy Leader
● Kirkwood Manor – Heidi Gulley, Therapy Leader

Vital Signs Champions

● Legend – Gladewater – Jason Goza, Therapy Leader
● Northern Oaks – Sarah Adams, Therapy Leader
● Legend – Greenville – George Palin, Therapy Leader
● Windsor Rehab – Augustus Gray, Therapy Leader
● McCall – Ellie Toscan, Therapy Leader
● Rose Villa – Loren Penuliar / Lito Ortiz, Therapy Leaders

Vital Signs Honorable Mentions

● Hunter’s Pond – Sonia West, Therapy Leader
● Mesa Springs Health Care Center – Monica Sharpe, Therapy Leader
● Cambridge – Kapil Thakkar, Therapy Leader
● Legend – Paris – Quinn Hall, Therapy Leader

Therapy and Nursing Work Together to Prepare for COVID Outbreaks

By Dominic DeLaquil, PT, Therapy Resource Pennant – Idaho/Nevada
Just a couple of months ago, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief as we were looking forward to a return to a more normal routine in our facilities. 2020 was a difficult year, as we were constantly pivoting to adapt to changing protocols in each building as outbreaks occurred, settled down, then surged again. The beginning of summer 2021 was bright with promise, most of our residents had been vaccinated, COVID case rates were dropping, and hope was in the air. Then the Delta variant showed up.

As one DOR in Idaho said, “As much as I’d like to bury my head in the sand about it, it does make sense to start preparing now.” So the Infinity and Lady Luck clusters in Idaho/Nevada asked the market Infection Prevention nurse, Clinical Resource Kristin Mumford, to join their next DOR call. The DORs and Kristin had a robust conversation, discussing topics such as how to manage therapist movements in a building, the importance of therapy to the psychosocial and physical well-being of residents when they have to stay in their rooms, the value of Therapy helping out our Nursing partners throughout the building in various “non-therapy” ways when extra help is needed on the floor, and other topics.

The conversation was an important early step to prepare for the worst, while we hope for the best. The conversation was productive for nursing and therapy, and the DORs left the call with agreements to their cluster partner DORs to each set up meetings with their DONs and EDs to discuss the plans in their buildings and how Therapy can help Nursing, serve the residents, and partner to ensure the best infection prevention protocols.