When Life Gives You a Pandemic, You May Find Something Amazing

By Elyse Matson, MA CCC-SLP, Speech Therapy Resource, Ensign

As mid-March was approaching and COVID-19 was spreading, I stopped at a facility in the Momentum market and there was a temperature checkpoint. I knew we were in for some changes. For a while, I carried on as best I could, but I kept thinking there must be more I can do to help. Then, I received a call from Tali Gerassi, DOR at Grossmont Post-Acute (GPAC) in the San Diego market. They had suddenly lost their long-time SLP and desperately needed help.

At first, I just tried to do what we SLPs do: find patients who need us and treat them. But soon I realized this wasn’t going to be an ordinary experience. This team was like no other I have met before, and I wanted to tell our whole organization how special they are.

GPAC is a busy post-acute facility with a rehab staff of nearly 20! The entire team has been so wonderful to me and helped me find my way. Most mornings I work with our general population patients. I watch the more experienced PTs and OTs build rapport with their patients and use innovative methods to get their patients back home. They play music and engage in personalized therapy sessions, and it is clear they want the best for their patients.

In the afternoon, I move to the observation unit where many of the therapists are brand-new grads. What a fantastic crew they are. I have learned so much from these young PTs and OTs! I have seen some of the best evidenced-based therapy from both PT and OT and a sense of teamwork that warms my heart.

Tali, DON Abigail Angeles and ED Katherine Oh have taken great measures to ensure the entire staff and I feel safe during this uncertain time, including meetings, frequent communications when policies change, and systems so that the staff can continue to be successful in caring for the patients.

I went to GPAC to help out, but I have received so much more in return!