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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Signature residents ‘catch a wave to adventure’ on Florida trip

“You never get too old to enjoy life,” said a 91-year-old Signature resident who traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla. earlier this year, the fourth consecutive year Signature has taken groups of residents on vacation. Check out the video above for highlights from the trip, and be sure to click the links below for additional coverage.

Panama City Beach Vacation – 2015 on Facebook

Signature HealthCARE Quality of Life Blog

Signature HealthCARE Legislative Lady Blog

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SHC of Fentress County Wagon Ride 2015!!

On Wednesday June, 10th Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County continued it’s Nursing Home Week celebration with a wagon ride at Timber-Ridge Camp Ground. Thanks to Standing Stone Care and Rehabilitation Center and Pickett Care and Rehab, our Signature HealthCare sisters, for each lending us a Van. We were able to transport 29 Elders to the ride.

Anthony Fackler was gracious enough to guide his team of horses and wagon taking our excited elders on the ride of thier lives! Timber-Ridge volunteered the use of their facilities to wait for each ride, eat lunch and take bathroom breaks. The SHC of Fentress County Team was there to assist with the day. We have such an amazing team, some came and volunteered on their day off. Seeing the smiles and excitement on the faces of our elders was priceless!!! What an Amazing day!

“I was so moved to see one particular elder there. He came to us a year ago with a left below the knee amputation and a wound on his sacrum the size of a saucer among other multiple heath problems. His wound is almost completely healed now. Our team, the wound nurse, floor nurses, CNA’s and therapy team made it possible for this elder to go on the wagon ride.” said Penny Rector COTA/L.

We would to thank Anthony Fackler, Sandy Macy, Jeff Callis and Cindy Schmidtz for giving their time to help our elders!! Thank you all so very much!!!

-Michael Conatser Admission & Marketing Director


SHC of Fentress County Nursing Home Week Kick-Off!!

On Monday, June 8th, 2015 Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County kicked-off it’s week-long Nursing Home Week 2015. The Celebration began with a signing of the proclamation declaring the week of June 8th-June 12th, 2015 as Nursing Home Week in Fentress County. Signing the proclamation were Fentress County Executive Michael Cross and Kim Hicks Assistant to the County Executive.