Racing Across America!

Hello again from the elders and stakeholders of Fentress! This summer is proving to be very exciting in our home with the new Restore Me! program, which is aimed at helping our elders get up and get moving for better health.

Company wide, we kicked off a race along the famous Route 66, which starts in Chicago and ends in Los Angeles. There were big prizes for the homes that reached the end destination first!

So far, we’ve eaten deep dish pizza, toured famous landmarks in the Windy City, and tried a local favorite of french fires with ice cream during a walk through the Shedd Aquarium. The elders are counting their steps every day and are looking forward to our first detour into Springfield, Illinois to see what adventure awaits there!

Summer Camp Days at Fentress

Hello from Camp Fentress! Our camp is well underway and a huge hit with both the kids and our home’s elders! The kids help kick things off in the morning with New Day Group, and also help with crafts and making snacks.

Anyone who is in our home on a regular basis can see friendships being born and memories being made that will last a lifetime. Our home is truly blessed!

Nursing Home Week!

The stakeholders and residents of our facility had a blast during our annual Nursing Home Week celebration with a theme of “The Great Outdoors!” Our nursing staff and other departments participated in gameshows, trivia challenges, med cart races, and of all things an elk calling contest! The residents really got a kick out of that one! Everyday the residents took a virtual tour of one of four National Parks and learned about them through trivia and slideshows. To wrap up the week we were visited by the York Elementary kindergarten classes for a day of fun and food. Games included pin the tail on the raccoon and the deer antler ring toss. In the end, everyone sat down for a meal of grilled hot dogs with all the fixings!

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New Beginnings at Fentress

Spring is in full swing at Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County! Not only did we just receive a zero deficiency Platinum survey, but we have also started our journey of transformation with The Eden Alternative. There will be lots of exciting new programs and changes happening in our home for our elders, their families, and our stakeholders, so keep an eye out for regular weekly updates!

MSE Room Making a Difference in Residents’ Lives at Signature of Fentress County

As part of the CMS grant program, Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County recently installed an MSE room. During the month of March, members of the therapy team and a group of caregivers received training to utilize the room with their residents. After only a few short weeks, the rehab department has seen many significant and positive outcomes. Crystal Bilbrey, RSM and Stephanie Barker, OTR recently contacted me to talk about the amazing results they have gotten with some of their residents. Some of them, Mrs. W, stands out to them most of all. Mrs. W, a 98-year-old resident with a diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease was admitted to Fentress County from another skilled nursing facility. At the time of her admission, she had not walked for over a year, had several falls, spent most of her time curled in a fetal position, and was very fearful of her surroundings and her caregivers. She exhibited behaviors when staff attempted to do her ADLs, on one occasion even biting a caregiver that was trying to assist her. She was mostly non-verbal with some garbled speech and occasional one word utterances. She often experienced periods of anxiety and crying. When she was seated in her wheelchair, her posture was poor and she gazed down toward the floor. Her upper body range of motion was limited and she was unable to feed herself. Her scored on the Mini Mental Status exam indicated severe cognitive impairment.

After only eight visits to the MSE, Mrs. W is now transferring with minimal assist, ambulating 25 feet, and feeding herself! On her initial visits to the room, Stephanie Barker, OTR, used the bubble tubes to engage Mrs. W. During one 20-30 minute session sitting in front of the tubes and watching their glow on the wall, Mrs. W stated, “I’m sitting by the fireplace.” She appears to enjoy running her hands up and down the tubes, experiencing the tactile stimulation they provide. This activity has increased her ROM, trunk flexion and rotation, and overall posture. As a result of Stephanie’s use of the projector and color wheels to display moving images on the walls, Mrs. W has also begun keeping her head in an upright position, moving her head from side to side, and using her peripheral vision. Stephanie has seen the effects of the room on Mrs. W last for hours after her visits. Now, even when Mrs. W is not in the MSE and Stephanie takes her down the halls of the facility, Mrs. W continues to look from side to side and use her peripheral vision to see and experience the world around her. She is more verbal and consistently uses short phrases to communicate with her caregivers. She has had no further episodes of biting, has lessened her anxiety and fearfulness, and appears more calm and interactive.

In addition to the amazing results achieved with MRs. W, some other observations made by Stephanie and Crystal include residents who have experienced decreased heart rate and blood pressure as a result of time spent in the room. There is also a resident who has significant sundowning behaviors. The number of episodes he experiences has been reduced by spending time in the MSE engaged with the bubble tubes. Stephanie and Crystal report he loves wrapping his arms and legs around the tubes and would stay in the room for hours if he could! Lastly, they told me of a resident who was refusing to eat. Stephanie used the essential oils from the room to provide aroma therapy to stimulate her appetite. Not only has she gained six pounds so far, she has even eaten some foods she previously refused to eat!

As I tell the therapists and caregivers when I train them to use the MSE room, there probably is not one resident in our facilities that could not benefit from using the room in some way. From those with dementia and other neurological impairments to our short term patients experiencing depression and pain, the room can and does provide the sensory stimulation needed to improve and in many cases resolve these issues.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Crystal, Stephanie, and the team at Fentress County for sharing their successes and making such an incredible difference in the lives of their residents. I know I am looking forward to hearing more success stories and being able to share them with all of you!

If you have questions about the MSE room or the Serenity program, please contact Susan Kane, Serenity Therapy Consultant at or 502-381-1641.

7th Regional Camping Trip Fosters Fun and Relaxation in The Great Outdoors

Two Residents from Signature Healthcare of Fentress County recently participated in Signature Hometown’s 7th annual camping trip at the Overton Lodge at Standing Stone State Park in Hilham, TN.

They joined residents from 5 other homes in the rural segment for a “Shipwreck Island” themed camping experience. Teams of castaways competed in games such as best SOS flag, message in a bottle, and best rescue boat replica.

After dinner, everyone sat around eating smore’s and telling ghost stories. Maxine Watson had never been camping or even had a smore! At 87 years young, Maxine said she was so glad she came and got to experience it, even though it was a little overwhelming at times.

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Operation Christmas Child

The Elders of Signature HealthCare of Fentress County are busy making Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child! A joint venture between SHC of Fentress County Elders, Quality of Life Department and Therapy Department, Operation Christmas Child gives boxes of Christmas presents to needy children. We have committed to 125 boxes and are well on our way to meeting our goal. This is great therapy for the body, mind and soul. With Christmas only a few months away our “elves” are diligently working to make the Christmas dreams of these children come true!!

Michael Conatser- Marketing & Admision Dir.

Trip of a Lifetime for Residents to Panama City Beach, FL

In May 2015, residents from Signature Hometown facilities travelled to Panama City Beach for our annual “Elder Vacation.” Two residents from Signature Healthcare of Fentress County, Frank Baines, and Debra Bowden, got to go on this trip of a lifetime. Recently, SHC of Fentress County was featured in our Hometown Newsletter for our Quality of Life Director’s story about Debra’s experience. Below is an excerpt from the story:

Everyone told me this trip was going to be hard…taking someone who was blind to the beach. They said she can’t even see the ocean. What they didn’t know was that this trip would be the most rewarding trip of her life and mine.

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Signature HealthCARE Named to 2015 Modern Healthcare’s List of “Best Places to Work in Healthcare”


Signature HealthCARE is proud to once again be named to Modern Healthcare​’s list of “Best Places to Work in Healthcare!” Only 100 nominees make the list each year and this is the fourth time Signature HealthCARE has been named to the list! The ranked order of nominees will be revealed in October.

To see the full list, follow this link:

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