29222 Rancho Viejo Rd, Ste 127
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
May 2021

Celebrating SLP Month
May is the month that we honor our beloved Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs)! Our "speechies" are rock star clinicians who address cognition, language, motor speech disorders and communication disorders, hearing function, and oral pharyngeal disorders. Our SLPs are special angels to our elderly, as the areas they impact can be life changing. We are interdependent on them for the overall success of our therapy programs, and delighted to see the number of SLPs in our organization growing tremendously this year. This edition of the FlagPOST is dedicated to our speechies! We love you and thank you for all you do! 
Pictured is Steve Cardon, SLP at Cedar Health and Rehab, Cedar City, UT, sporting his SLP shirt for Better Speech and Hearing Month!
Celebrating Our SLP Resources
Recognizing Elyse Matson, MA CCC-
SLP Clinical Resource
Submitted by Tamala Sammons, MA CCC/SLP, Therapy Resource
Elyse Matson, SLP has been with the organization as a treating clinician and SLP Clinical Resource. She has helped SLPs across the entire organization better understand working with dementia patients, navigating the sub-acute population, ensuring CFY supervision experiences are solid, providing education and support of the ThinkThin! initiative, ensuring SLPs are taking vital signs and providing education to ensure accuracy with coding the SLP Casemix. Thank you, Elyse, for all you do to ensure everyone has the support to ensure our patients are being taken care of. Elyse is the best! Read On to see what others say about her...
Recognizing Tamala Sammons,
MA CCC/SLP and Super Resource
Submitted by Chad Long, Therapy Resource
As we celebrate Better Speech and Hearing Month, I wanted to share a few comments from the field about Tamala Sammons, SLP & Super-Resource. Thank you, Tamala, for your kind heart, wicked smartness and desire to see the best in all of us!

Without Tamala, we wouldn’t have had the success that we have had. Her support and motivation means the world to me! And let’s not forget about those POSTettes — they are incredible tools and resources that make my role easier. Love you! — Heather Bjernudd, Therapy Resource  
The Importance of Having an SLP Champion in the Market
By Kelly Alvord, Therapy Resource - Sunstone, UT
For SLP month we wanted to highlight the importance of “peer to peer” support when growing clinical programs. In the Sunstone market, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience among our SLPs, and we quickly realized we needed to ensure our SLPs had a way to connect with each other. We initiated a monthly SLP call for the market. We wanted our SLPs to experience the cluster model as SLPs to share ideas, problem-solve and challenge each other. We also realized that it would be most successful if we identified an SLP Champion to own the calls to ensure the topics were relevant and keep the SLPs engaged. We asked Sarah Scott, SLP from Pointe Meadows, to take on this role, and with her ownership the call has turned into a vibrant, clinically focused, results-oriented discussion. Thank you, Sarah, and all the Sunstone SLPs for ensuring you provide the very best care to the residents in your facilities. 
Provo SLPs Partner with
Rocky Mountain University
Submitted by Kelly Alvord, Therapy Resource - Sunstone, UT
Provo Rehab and Nursing has partnered with Rocky Mountain University over the years to provide clinical rotations for their SLP graduate students. However, RMU found it difficult for all their students to have clinical experiences with trach/vent patients during their practicum. This is where the partnership between Provo and RMU grew because Provo has a sub-acute wing. Our great SLPs, Dot Stuart (L) and Shenise Ford (R), have become RMU adjunct professors, and all the SLPs students have the opportunity to come twice a week to Provo and spend several hours for this needed clinical experience. Thank you, Dot and Shenise, for being a great support to RMU and their SLP student program and for mentoring these future SLPs!   
Improving Hands-On Skills in
Pennant, WA 
Submitted by Mira Waszak, Therapy Resource - Washington
On May 11, Pennant, WA, SLPs participated in a full-day workshop to improve their hands-on skills and have a better understanding of PDPM and opportunities with LTC programming. This workshop was presented by Elyse Matson, SLP/Clinical Resource.
Think Thin! at Rosewood
Submitted by Dominic DeLaquil, PT, CEEAA, Therapy Resource, ID/NV
Carly Peevers has been an SLP at Rosewood Rehabilitation in Reno, Nevada, since 2015. She is passionate about all things Speech Therapy. She also practices what she preaches. In February and March, she did training for the entire Idaho/Nevada market on Think Thin! This included our nursing partners across the market. On a recent visit to Rosewood Rehab, I noticed a handwritten sign on the cabinet door in the rehab kitchen: “No one is currently on thickened liquids! Yayyy Speech!”
Yay Speech indeed! Great job, Carly, Danielle and Whitney, the Speech team at Rosewood! Or as we like to say in Summit, Branzino!
By Elyse Matson, MA CCC-SLP Clinical Resource
Cognition and Swallowing are among the common challenges persisting for many Americans after COVID-19. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) can help patients regain health and quality of life. With an estimated 10 to 30% of COVID-19 survivors experiencing a post-COVID-19 syndrome, including brain fog and swallowing difficulties, it is more important than ever to utilize the full range of services provided by SLPs. Read On...
Growing SLP Programs Submitted by Jeremy Osmond, DOR, Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing, Provo, UT
Dot Stuart, SLP at Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing, decided to focus on education related to growing SLP programs for her Director of Rehab in Training Ops (DORiTO) capstone project. The information was so impressive that I asked her to present at a Sunstone DOR meeting to help other therapy leaders really understand all the things SLPs can do in our setting. 

She highlighted that the SLP needs to be committed beyond the patients that they receive orders for on admits and really focus on all residents in their facility to make sure their highest level of function is being attained. Read On...
Millennium Post Acute Rehab’s SLP Superstar Team
Submitted by Heather Bjernudd, Therapy Resource - South Carolina
Our speech therapists at Millennium Post Acute Rehab in West Columbia, South Carolina, are incredible! When this facility started taking ventilator-dependent patients this year, these ladies jumped in and have had incredible results. 
Here is a highlight on a current patient...Read On
SLP Helps Resident Find Purpose and Decrease Behaviors
Submitted by Dominic DeLaquil, PT, CEEAA, Therapy Resource, ID/NV
Steve is a LTC resident at McCall Rehab being treated by Speech Therapy for cognitive/communication deficits. He has a history of alcohol abuse and dementia. With winter in the mountains and COVID restrictions, his behaviors had become a real problem. He was initially refusing to get OOB and staying in a dark room, but as the weather began to turn to spring, he began excessive wandering, wanting to get out of the facility. He was agitated and confused and began urinating in sinks and trash cans.   

Using the ACA approach, SLP Cassie Johnson took him outside and listened. He was remarking on all of the things around that building that might need repair or upkeep after the long winter. She asked him what he would do, and one thing led to another, and she got some sandpaper and he started working on refinishing a wooden patio table at the facility. Read On...
Recognizing St. Joseph SLPs for their Outstanding Clinical Outcomes
Submitted by Lisa Brook, PT/DOR, St. Joseph Villa, Salt Lake City, UT
Susan Roubian, Hannah Allen, Katie Paulsen and Taylor Schweitzer comprise the St. Joseph Villa Speech Therapy team. This program has grown significantly, going from 1-1/2 SLPs to four full-time SLPs over the last two years! These SLPs have made an effort to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams in our facility to change the way we care for our residents and improve their therapy and quality of life. We have been developing programs in the areas of AmpCare, Think Thin!, Oral Care, Speak Out!, Abilities Care, and high-level cognitive groups for our residents with mild cognitive impairment. During our COVID outbreaks, our SLPs played a crucial role in managing change in condition and aspiration risk and significantly changed our outcomes. They are now utilizing The Breather with our Respiratory Muscle Strength Training program to meet the growing needs of post-COVID respiratory insufficiency impacting communication and swallowing.  Read On...
Pictured L to R: Taylor Schweitzer, Hannah Allen, Susan Roubian, Katie Paulsen
WELL (We Embrace Living|Loving Life!) Strong!
Morning routines for wellness are an important part of building resilience for the day. How many of us rush through the morning to get out the door without tapping into this critical part of the day? We are sharing best practices to show up our best for one another! Recently at an Endura DOR meeting, our resource Whitney Warkentin got vulnerable with her team and shared her morning magic: Meditation, Breath work, Daily readings, Daily journaling. This all takes her 20 minutes, and once built into a routine, will become something as important as brushing your teeth. What is your morning routine? Steal from the best! We want to see you thriving in 2021! .
Chad Long, Therapy Resource, and daughter on their bike ride
Walking Croi, by Ciara Cox, Therapy Financial Resource
Jamie Funk, Therapy Recruiting Resource, and daughter on their hike
The Summit and Monument Therapy Resource Team recently participated in a Refresh, Renew and Refocus retreat/meeting. This included a personal reflection time and group yoga on the beach!
This month the DOR’s from the East side of Pennant ID/NV got together to discuss goals, collaboration and the cluster model. Afterwards we went to lunch and to the park to test our standing dynamic balance on a slackline
Weekly hikes to clear the mind and cleanse the soul!!
Julia Schmutz DOR at Camarillo Healthcare and Aimee Bhatia, Therapy Resource
WELL Strong at St. Elizabeth, Fullerton, CA. The sun is out and summer is here! 
Time for more running around the Fullerton loop, stair climbs, trail running and paddleboarding!
Therapist Profile
by Cory Robertson, Therapy Resource - Idaho
Introducing Kara Von Burg, SLP covering both Temple View and Monte Vista in Pennant, Idaho. 
Kara has been with Ensign for 1.5 years, in long-term care for three years and a Speech Pathologist for 18 years. She has been enjoying focusing on learning the uniqueness of the long-term care setting and the importance a team approach has to improve and/or maintain daily function of our residents. Kara says, “I have been excited to start learning about the Abilities care approach as well as integrating my background of a certified brain injury specialist (CBIS)/overall heavy neuro background to best serve our residents. I have recently been learning more about respiratory rehab and its great benefits. It's been encouraging to see such good success and compliance from our residents with use of respiratory rehab strategies and exercises for improved breath support for communication and swallowing function.”

Using a very individualized approach to treatment planning, listening to patient goals and concerns as well as working closely with Therapy and Nursing teams have been very crucial to success and is Kara’s focus in this setting. Kara says, “This position and population is challenging, exciting, rewarding, and there is never a dull moment. I truly love being a Speech Pathologist and am very grateful for this profession.”
Oral Infection Control at
City Creek Submitted by Gary McGiven, Therapy Resource - Milestone, UT
Since converting to a COVID-designated facility, City Creek has seen a more acutely ill patient population with an increased reliance on staff support for oral infection control. As COVID-19 patients are significantly more likely to experience complications if they also have poor oral health, City Creek's SLPs have implemented a system to better track data on how frequently oral infection control support is being offered. 

Even for patients who are cognitively and physically capable of performing it for themselves, staff support in the form of set-up assistance or verbal reminders has been valuable. Read On...
Urinary Incontinence Program
By Danielle Banman, OT/DOR, The Healthcare Resort of Leawood, KS
Here at The Healthcare Resort of Leawood, we have the privilege of serving our LTC and ALF residents, rehab patients, and community outpatients with our urinary incontinence program. We provide training on exercises to improve pelvic floor muscle strength and education on bladder emptying strategies, adequate water intake, and bladder irritant avoidance during the first 30 days. If the patient has not made significant improvement within 30 days, we are able to initiate PENS during weeks five and six per Medicare guidelines. We are then able to provide continued training and PENS with the addition of MFAC during weeks six to 10 to help the patient make as much progress as possible. Read On...
Celebrating Nursing Home Week
Hello from EPAR in Englewood, Colorado! By Maryann Bowles, Therapy Resource, Endura, CO, and Paula Voorhis, TPM, Englewood Post Acute, Englewood, CO
I am so proud of us. Look at these happy faces! In conjunction with nursing home week, we have incorporated fun from around the globe through groups planned for each day! On Hawaii day, we had dancing, bubbles and individual sand castles in addition to mocktails; October Fest was represented with corn-hole, darts, near beer and brats; the Greeks were honored with a rousing game of outdoor water balloon volleyball, jenga and popsicles; and the finale was a throwback to 1950 with a sock hop, rootbeer floats and a drive-in movie where “Grease” was featured. So happy to partner with IDT to make all of these groups for the week come together, truly bringing dignity to long-term care.
How Do You Keep a Cluster Growing Strong? Submitted by Angie Taylor, COTA/L/Therapy Program Manager-Shawnee Post Acute Care & Rehabilitation, Overland Park, KS
You grow a cluster by keeping them networking together! Our Rainmakers cluster in the Emerald Market keeps on building better and better through our networking events, where we socialize, have fun, and dive into discipline-specific brainstorming groups to share best practices and group ideas and develop point persons for specific program areas. The breakout sessions were very beneficial, and you could see the gears turning along with positive support and camaraderie amongst all team members.  

To be able to share ideas, support each other and build relationships can go such a long way in program development, cluster growth, ownership, and most importantly exceptional patient care! We also used this opportunity to invite newly hired staff to start off right with exposing them to our team and cluster partners and share in the Ensign experience even before they come through the door! This last month we also developed a “Rainmakers Therapy” Facebook page to share posts of ideas, groups, supportive, and uplifting quotes and inspirational growth! Jackie, Abi and Angie are so proud of the group and so excited to see where it will go in the future!
Bringing a Sense of Passion to LTC  
By Aimee Bhatia, Therapy Resource - NCI, CA
Stephanie Marshall, OTR at Glenwood Care Center, recently demonstrated interest in a leadership role. With a recent transition to a new Therapy Program Manager, it was an optimal time to expand her influence in the department and develop her leadership skills on her path to further growth within our organization. She has been given the title of LTC and Outpatient Therapy Manager. Her focus is to take ownership of the LTC program in-house, complete all quarterly screens, initiate authorization requests for HMO B, assist other disciplines in identifying residents to bring on caseload, and facilitate relationships and growth opportunities in ALF and ILF partners.

When someone expresses interest and demonstrates leadership qualities, it’s our duty to assist with that development. Stephanie brings a great sense of passion to LTC, dementia programming, and a holistic approach to treatment plans. Her influence in the department will facilitate increased growth, improve advocacy for therapy for LTC residents, and work to build crucial aspects of leadership.
May the 4th Be With You!
By Patrick Amar, PT/DOR, Mountain View Rehabilitation, Marysville, WA
Who’s a Star Wars fan? Here at Mountain View Rehab in Washington, the therapy team and culture committee went all out! Our pepperoni shaped Yoda pizza, lightsaber pretzels, Yoda soda, and deviled egg Yoda kept us festive.

We had a stormtrooper blaster shootout (with Nerf guns) for the residents and the staff. Therapy was creative in doing standing balance training and working on fine motor skills with patients, while having fun! Everyone joined in from our ED, dietary, housekeeping, nurses and CNAs. Guess what the prize was? Cute Baby Yoda!
We decorated the gym with blow-up lightsabers, posters, and death star beach balls. Everyone got to dress up with their favorite Star Wars Shirt and hairdo!
Doing the Important Thing
By Kari Rhodes, MS, CCC-SLP, Therapy Resource, Keystone West, TX
I was looking for pics to put in an email and came across this. It made me think of our recent meetings, and I feel like it’s a good visual reminder! Focus on what is truly important, and the rest will get better accordingly! I love that I know you have my back and I love knowing I have yours! 
Moment of Truth at Millennium
Submitted by Drew McQuillen, PTA/TPM, Millennium Post Acute Rehabilitation,
West Columbia, SC
Missy Harmon, our COTA here at Millennium, has been working on a project for the past several weeks. To add fun and activity to the residents’ lives here, she has been incubating baby chicks in the therapy department. The chicks have arrived, and the residents are all super excited to come see them, hold them and show them some CAPLICO love. Missy really put a lot of her own time, and a great amount of energy and care into this project, and we are so happy to honor her with this Moment of Truth for enriching the lives of both residents and staff.
More Chicks to Make You Smile
By  Lindsey Callahan RN, Director of Nursing, Pinnacle Nursing & Rehab,
Price, UT
Our Speech Therapist brought in some chicken eggs that we have been watching for the past two and a half weeks and they have started hatching!!!! This has been so much fun. Our staff and residents have loved watching the chicks hatch. The chicks are SO cute.
Celebrating a Happy Earth Day 
By Rey Sandoval, OTR/DOR, Willowbend Nursing & Rehab, Mesquite, TX
In honor of Earth Day, we decided to do a planting group here at WB! Patients are excited to see their seeds grow into beautiful flowers! Happy Earth Day, everyone!
Group Fun at Pinnacle Nursing & Rehabilitation, Price, UT
By Kelly Alvord, Therapy Resource - Sunstone UT
The Sunstone market in Utah is continuing to enhance group/concurrent opportunities for our patients. Kirk Player and Brody LeRoy at Pinnacle shared their “go-to” group ideas on the Therapy Resource call this week (thanks, guys!).

Here are some of their ideas:
  • Chair Yoga with HeartMath, \
  • Disc Golf
  • Corn Hole Toss
  • Drumming Circle. 
  • Target shooting with Nerf and Pellet guns (see picture for possible targets :))
Roping & Dance Group at Northern Oaks By Sarah Adams, DOR, Northern Oaks Living & Rehabilitation Center, Abilene, TX
Northern Oaks is having a lot of fun with group! Above are pictures of our roping group. This is primarily led by our COTA, Emily and PTA, Sam who both Rodeo on the weekends, and it has been a big hit with our male residents. The OT’s built the wooden roping dummy and we have a hay bale dummy as well. This has been better for smaller 2-4 person groups. We also have a chair yoga class also pictured above.
Speech Therapy Cognition Group: Jeopardy Game 
By Heather Bjernudd, Therapy Resource - South Carolina 
Pictured are Melissa Alexander, SLP and Kimmie Kyzer, PTA, Opus Post Acute,
W. Columbia, SC
Categories included Word Finding, Problem Solving, Safety Awareness, Medication Management and Orientation. 
Goal: to improve functional cognitive tasks and performance in safety awareness in preparation of discharge home.
This Group can also be combined with a PT group for standing balance, increasing endurance, etc. while addressing safety awareness.
All-Star Paramount Group
By Todd Burgener, DPT/CBIS/DOR, Paramount Health and Rehabilitation,
Salt Lake City, UT
The therapy department combined in an interdisciplinary effort to teach the residents the Thriller dance. The residents practiced the dance choreography in group twice a week for three weeks. On the fourth week the residents, led by the therapy staff, performed the dance to the staff and other residents. The therapy staff used the dance moves as a therapeutic opportunity to promote movement and exercise. This group was a great social environment where the residents were able to interact; establishing new friendships and acquaintances. During the performance the residents were able to refer to the therapists to keep up with the moves and beat. The therapists had a great workout as well. There was a lot of great energy in the room. As a result of this group performance many residents felt very accomplished, which is a feeling they had not felt since the outbreak of COVID-19.  
Congratulations Montecito Post Acute Care of Mesa, AZ
Submitted by Denny Davis, Therapy Resource - Bandera, AZ
Montecito will be receiving the Clinical Team of the Year Award from AT Still University’s PT department. TJ Petty and his team are Rock Stars with their student program, and it’s so awesome that the school recognizes that and is giving them this award. Tracy Ellison, PT, DPT, Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist and Assistant Director of Clinical Education at ATSU said, "... The enthusiasm for physical therapy and clinical education the entire team at Montecito demonstrates has made a huge impact on our graduating class. We literally could not have made it through this past year without all of you!"
Congratulations to the Winners of the #CaptionThis Campaign 
Last month, Sacchin Bhatia, Therapy Resource for NCI/No Cal, California, and Jon Anderson, Therapy Resource, Keystone, Texas, started a #CaptionThis campaign to highlight their friendly competition and build camaraderie among our therapy teams. The team at Westover Hills in San Antonio, Texas, won the contest and they sent a big thank-you to Sacchin for a great lunch. They said it was a much appreciated gift from one of Ensign’s mightiest heroes.
Whitney Warkentin, Therapy Resource, Endura-CO
Submitted by Chad Long, Therapy Resource
I am excited to introduce our newest therapy Resource in Endura-CO, Whitney Warkentin, SLP! Whitney comes to us with several years supporting skilled nursing therapy operations in multiple states, and she brings a wealth of Speech Therapy clinical expertise (including being FEES certified).

Almost immediately after joining Ensign Services (Cornet CO), she helped transition two of three new Colorado acquisitions growing Endura to 14 skilled facilities. We are grateful to have Whitney onboard and eager to continue to learn from her as she makes us all better!
Welcome to Our Newest Keystone North Facility
By Barbara Mohrle, Therapy Resource, Keystone North, TX
I am so excited to introduce our newest rehab team at Windsor Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Terrell, Texas! This team is led by DOR Karen Zurn, PTA. She has been at this facility for over seven years and is excited to join our Ensign affiliates! Let’s all show them some Keystone North love!