• Recent Advances in Occupational Therapy

    By Ryan Squire

    Occupational therapists work with patients on day-to-day activities designed to improve their ability to function independently. “Occupational therapists use a variety of methods to help patients achieve their goals,” says Jeanna Conder, MBA, OTR/L, Director, Clinical Operations, RehabCare. “For example, if a therapist is working with a patient who has had a stroke, the therapist might provide adaptive equipment, such as an elevated commode or a shower seat. For pediatric patients, the therapist might use ‘play’ to improve motor skills, which will ultimately improve function.”

    RehabCare Logo

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  • Sally Brooks, MDSally Brooks, MD

    Kindred Healthcare’s medical advisory boards provide valuable information that helps Kindred keep up with current trends in medicine and improve patient care. “We have two types of medical advisory boards,” says Sally Brooks M.D, Vice President, Physician and Medical Development, Kindred Healthcare. “Each of our three divisions—Hospital, Nursing Center, and RehabCare—has an advisory board. In addition, we have local advisory boards in markets where we’re providing high-acuity care.”

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  • Chief Medical Officer, Kindred Nursing Centers

    Kindred Healthcare Executive Director Shelly Szarek-Skodny, Director of Clinical Operations Leslie Vajner and local Medical Director Dr. Michael Felver  from Cleveland will be giving an exciting presentation at American Medical Directors Association or AMDA this year on the nuts and bolts of how to set up a Joint Quality Committee and improve communication between local SNFs and acute care hospitals. Entitled “Operational Success Through Partnership with Acute Care Providers: A Guide for Initiating Joint Quality Committees,” the presentation is on Saturday, March 10th at 4pm. The presentation will highlight key steps required to successfully work with other large organizations and providers in a local market. Highlights include:


    Shelly Szarek-Skodny, Executive DirectorShelly Szarek-Skodny, Executive Director


    Szarek-Skodny says creating a presentation about their process grew organically out of their work together over the past year.

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  • Celebrating National Nutrition Month in Our FacilitiesMarch is National Nutrition Month. To make sure that Kindred facilities are prepared, Karen Omietanski, MBA, RD, LD, Senior Director of Nutrition Services, Nursing Center Division, Kindred Healthcare, and Quincie Grounds, RD, LD, CNSD, Nutrition Services Clinical Consultant, Hospital Division, Kindred Healthcare, have put together some resources to help facilities celebrate the importance of good nutrition.

    “Each facility will get a National Nutrition Month flyer (pictured below) that they can copy and display in various locations throughout the center,” Omietanski says. “They’ll also receive a Certificate of Recognition to be presented to their registered dietitians.”

    During National Nutrition Month, Omietanski and Grounds also send facilities a list of possible methods for educating staff about proper nutrition and for honoring their dedicated Nutrition Services employees. The list includes:

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  • In an attempt to recruit new therapists, RehabCare, a contract rehabilitation company in Louisville, Ky., developed a free CEU course on orthopedics. The course was held in Chicago on January 24th. “We’re always looking for innovative, creative ways to reach out to therapists and let them know who we are,” says J.D. Miller, recruiter, RehabCare. “We had a need for therapists in the greater Chicago area, and we saw this as an opportunity to attract a large number of therapists so we could get them familiar with our organization.”


    The course was initially planned for 40 participants. “There were 70+ therapists who attended,” Miller says. “Our presenter said it was the biggest turnout she’d ever seen. We had such positive results from the first course that we planned a second one for February 9.” The second event had 43 attendees.

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  • The 2011 Clinical Impact Symposium Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation Across the Continuum, held December 6-8 in Louisville, Ky., offered some great information on providing patients the highest level of care.

    Cardio-Pulmonary Clinical Impact Symposium “The clinical guidelines for long-term care and rehabilitation have evolved gradually and changed considerably over the last several years,” he says. “Skilled nursing facilities have sometimes lagged behind. Dr. Pandya provided some easy-to-follow instructions and tools that will help those facilities to better manage their patients with diabetes.”

    Sean Muldoon, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Hospital Division, Kindred Healthcare, says that the “hazards of immobility that lead to polymyoneuropathy” theme was a common one during several of the sessions. “This validates the Kindred model of integrated restorative services, which will lead staff to update these findings with renewed determination into hospital care models,” he says.


    Daniel Forman, MD, FACC, FAHADaniel Forman, MD, FACC, FAHA


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  • With the spotlight on activity professionals during Activities Professionals Week on Jan. 22-28, we asked Emilee Kulin and John Davis of Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Mountain Valley to share the story of their highly successful activities program.

    Del and Elsie Houck celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Jan. 16 at Mountain Valley Care and Rehab in Kellogg. Elsie is a resident at our facility. They enjoyed a catered prawn dinner from the Broken Wheel, their favorite restaurant.Del and Elsie Houck celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Jan. 16 at Mountain Valley Care and Rehab in Kellogg. Elsie is a resident at our facility. They enjoyed a catered prawn dinner from the Broken Wheel, their favorite restaurant.

    Kulin, the activities director, says that the residents at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Mountain Valley come from a small rural community of people who worked as miners, loggers, or in recreation fields. “Our residents are used to being active” she says, “so we try to give them activities that will fit that lifestyle. We have Tuesday night poker games, bingo, dominoes and happy hour. On Friday nights, we have a band that plays from 6:30 to 8:30.”

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  • Bessie: A Seamless Recovery Across the Continuum of Care Kindred’s presence across the post-acute spectrum of care means that our patients can recover as fully as possible in the proper care setting. Bessie’s story is a good example. She was living comfortable at home in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and using a Bi-PAP machine when she developed respiratory distress.

    On January 3, she was admitted to a short-term acute care hospital. There she was placed on a ventilator and underwent a tracheostomy. She also developed pneumonia, renal dysfunction and hypertension. Because she was unable to wean from the ventilator, Bessie’s physician chose to transfer her to Kindred Hospital Louisville for continued care.

    At Kindred Hospital Louisville, Bessie was successfully weaned from the ventilator. She recovered from her pneumonia  and her renal function improved significantly. By this point Bessie had gained strength with the help of physical, speech and occupational therapy, but her recovery was not complete.

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  • Quality Measures

    By Ryan Squire

    Matt Sivret and Sally Brooks, MD addressed why outcomes matter greatly to Kindred Healthcare, measuring our organizational success through patient success, how to address outcomes across the continuum and why outcomes matter to our customers. Matt started by identifying the top seven reasons why outcomes matter:


    Matt SivretMatt Sivret


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  • Cindy Cassel, PhD, RD, LDCindy Cassel, PhD, RD, LD

    The prevalence and pathopshiology of congestive heart failure is 25% of patients with heart disease. Evidence based dietetics practices approved by the American Dietetics Association (ADA) have been developed to guide the medical nutrition therapy for patients with heart failure.

    Cindy Cassel educated the audience on how the ADA uses workgroups to develop disease specific guidelines, which recommend what should be done in terms of nutrition and then how it should be delivered. In addition, the ADA has developed a guideline rating system that helps guide the dietician and patient on the strength of the guideline based on evidence base.

    The ADA recommends that the treatment of heart failure symptoms should be based on a comprehensive nutrition assessment to maximize adequate intake and control for the symptoms of disease. In general the nutrition assessment of a heart failure patient should focus on protein needs (should be higher to save muscle) and energy needs.

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