Shannon Heil, MSDA Class of 2012, is a Speech Language Pathologist at Family of Caring, a sub-acute and long-term care facility in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The populations that Shannon typically serves on a day-to-day basis include individuals who are recovering status - post stroke, traumatic brain injuries, early onset dementia, tracheostomies, and other neurological and/or physical diagnoses resulting in cognitive and/or swallowing deficits. Her daily responsibilities typically include providing comprehensive, standardized evaluations and treatments, and coordinating a patient's treatment program in conjunction with the patient, his/her family, and other interdisciplinary services.
Shannon’s facility has just begun accepting patients who are recovering from COVID19 from Valley Hospital and other local hospitals in the Bergen County area. Within the facility, designated wings have been made that are dedicated to care for these groups of patients.
Shannon notes, “Speech-language pathologists are playing a huge role in this pandemic, as we work with individuals who are making their transition from ventilation dependency to breathing, eating, and speaking on their own once again.” Remarking on what she is seeing and experiencing in her role as a healthcare provider, Shannon says, “The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions. Since the pandemic, my facility, like many other sub-acute rehab facilities, has closed our doors to visitors as a way of preventing the spread of COVID19. Everyday though, when I walk through the halls or leave work, I see families and friends of patients by their windows as a way of seeing and being with their loved ones. Unfortunately, we have lost patients and residents in this battle against the virus, but I feel fortunate to have gotten to know and worked with them, even if it was only for a brief time. However, there are days where my heart is filled with joy when we get to see patients go back home to their families and friends. We recently had a patient discharged home with his wife and daughter, and he thanked me over and over again, and promised me that he would keep in touch. It made everything I do worth it.”
As we honor and thank Shannon and her fellow healthcare providers and essential workers, she wanted to take the opportunity to express gratitude of her own: “To all other healthcare and essential workers, thank you SO much for everything you do! Your work and passion is not overlooked. I am so lucky to work alongside such dedicated doctors, nurses, therapists, and maintenance workers at my facility. Thank YOU!”
Thank YOU Shannon, for all you are doing to help your patients transition through their recovery. And thank you, Farrell Patterson, MSDA ‘12, for filling us in on Shannon’s role in helping those impacted by COVID19 recover!