Blog Archives

New Clinical Care Manager in Arizona

ImageShannon joined the AdvisaCare team January 1st of this year and is responsible for overseeing patient care at our Phoenix, Arizona branch. She brings with her 7.5 years of rehabilitation experience from her work at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado and is currently enlisted in the Army Reserves.  She has a strong background in spinal cord injury rehabilitation and disability care.  It is our privilege to introduce Shannon King, AdvisaCare newest Clinical Manager.

Tell us a little about you…

I started at Craig when I was only 18 years old. I worked there as a CNA for 2 years on the less acute Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) floor (3 East) while I completed my RN. Once I completed my RN, I transferred over to the acute SCI floor (3 West) and worked there for 5 ½ years. I was also a night shift charge nurse and the hospital IV expert which meant that if there was ever a code no matter where I was, I got paged overhead.

What an amazing experience! I learned so much from simply talking to my patients while listening to and asking questions of the other nurses, CNAs and respiratory therapist all over the hospital.

Philosophy on rehabilitationShannon and patient

I always joke that psych nurses ask you how you feel and a rehab nurses tell you, “you can do this yourself”. The best rehab nurses are the combination of the two. You have got to know when to push and when to pull. This means being able to read your client’s needs and encourage them from where they now are in order to get them to where they want to be.

I truly believe that I was born to be a rehab nurse. This means advocating for my patients but most importantly teaching them to advocate for themselves. Knowledge is power and the more a patient knows about their disability and their own bodies the better they can direct their care. And of course that is the ultimate goal, complete independence. I think sometimes people think that independence means being able to do everything yourself, but, post SCI independence is being able to be responsible for all aspects of you life, even if you have to direct/delegate a task.

So from the bottom of my heart, with all the support and encouragement I can muster, you CAN do this yourself!

What does Craig hospital mean to you

Craig was my home and my family for so long. I will always remember it like the house I grew up in, with the same fondness and pleasant memories. The things that I learned there shaped my vision for my own future and taught me, as Craig says, “The Strength of Family”.  It is this knowledge and spirit that I bring with me as I transition to AdvisaCare.


I am a wife and mother as well as a nurse. My son is the most adorable, most intelligent, 7 month old I have ever met. (Could I be biased by the fact that I am his mother?)

ArmyMy husband is the most supportive, kindest man I have ever met. It is with his support that I completed my Bachelors in Nursing, my Masters in Nursing, obtained my certification as a rehabilitation nurse and now he is supporting me as I apply for Doctoral programs. Did I mention that he also supports me as I serve as a nurse in the Army Reserves…Huah!

What an amazing man that will support me in everything that I do and what an amazing man who will stay home with our son and take care of everything at home. I am so blessed!

Your goals for AdvisaCare

My goal is to optimize quality of life for all of our clients. This includes providing superior care, educating the public and other health care professionals as well as partnering with advocacy groups to make sure that each client’s holistic needs are met to the best of our abilities. I would love to be able to use my passion and knowledge to serve people with disabilities. AdvisaCare and its CEO, Kris Skogen, have an amazing vision that I share!

What does a Clinical Care Manager do?

I ensure that AdvisaCare, Arizona provides excellent care. I provide oversight and supervision to all services we provide throughout the State of Arizona. I personally meet with clients and families to discuss the whole picture (health, support, employment, education, home disposition, supply, Doctors and Specialists). I truly enjoy getting to meet patients in their home because that is the best way to learn their story and assess their personal needs from self care to transfers, showers, home modifications, and case management.  I learn about different organizations available in the community like the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association and Raising Special Kids and recommend these resources to ensure a sense of community and support. At AdvisaCare, our mission is to help our clients maintain optimum health and independence.

Wheelin’ Team 457 brings deer hunting to the disabled sportsman

Meet Don McLaughlin (center).  He is a resident of Evergreen Grove in Otter Lake, Michigan, an avid sportsman and retired Marine.  As Director of Sports and Recreation for Wheelin’ Team 457, Don is dedicated to the idea that all people should be able to pursue the activities they love.  He works to connect people with resources and adapted sporting events that enable them to participate despite physical barriers.  The goal of Wheelin’ Team, Don says, is to “get people off their butts and active!”

Across Michigan and in parts of Ohio, he coordinates competitive activities for athletes including adaptive equipment and enough volunteers to keep events competitive yet open to a spectrum of abilities.

Wheelin Team 457

He and the Team participated in a 4-day adapted hunt last October that included athletes from all over the State.  The hunt was sponsored by Ray C’s Extreme Sports and AdvisaCare Home Health Care and had  23 hunters with conditions such as spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy using adaptive equipment such as sip-n-puff trigger pulls and stands to operate shot-guns and bows and arrows. They rode with volunteers on ATVs and maneuvered 4-wheel-drive wheelchairs at various hunting sites throughout lower Michigan.  It was a successful hunt that harvested a total of 8 deer- 3 bucks and 5 does- and yielded many more great stories.  At the end of the 4-days, there was a dinner reception at the Lions Club Bear Lake Camp in Lapeer, MI. including an awards ceremony where every hunter gladly shared their tales.

This was an opportunity to take part in the traditional hunting season that makes up Michigan’s heritage and was just one of the many programs athletes (and the casual sportsman) can access in order to get out there and be active.  For more information and to get in touch with Don and Wheelin’ Team 457, visit the website at or call (810) 210-6910.

AdvisaCare is a proud sponsor and supporter of Wheelin’ Team 457

Flying with Angels

By Ashleigh Justice

Sunday, February 17

Today, I flew with Angels. Not the kind of angels with halos or harps, but the kind that remove barriers and make you feel like you can take on the world. Today, I was a Captain of a myTEAM TRIUMPH team. I got to feel speed and the wind in my face, the cheers from passerbys. Only a handful of times in my life have I been able to leave my wheelchair behind and feel like I wasn’t stuck without it. For those who can walk, riding in a racing chair probably doesn’t carry the same impact but for those who are “trapped in a broken body” that racing chair becomes wings. “When I was in that chair, I felt like my disability disappeared,” said Rick Hoyt after his father pushed him through their first race. Mr. Hoyt, no one could have said it better!

myTEAM TRIUMPH became a part of my life in November of 2011 when Kris Skogen, my boss and CEO of AdvisaCare, asked me to help start the Phoenix chapter.  He had seen the kind of impact the organization was already having in Michigan and wanted to help the organization expand to other parts of the States.  Little did I realized that this assignment or the individuals I would meet would become such a special pert of my life.

The run was the final event of the first National Conference of myTEAM TRIUMPH in Phoenix, Arizona. We ran alongside Tempe Town Lake, an entourage of red and white among the crowd. It was during the conference that I realized that what we are doing is more than helping people with disabilities cross the finish line, we were giving them the experience of accomplishment, of having fun, and of genuinely mattering to the team. For me, a person with a disability, being able to forget about my paralysis for even just one race is more than a break from reality, its a flight with angels

I was joined by Connor, another Captain who had already been in two races with our chapter. Captain Connor has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal and blind and doesn’t communicate much but when we arrived at our landing spot, he had a smile that could not be denied. His mom asked him, “Connor, did you have fun?” Connor rocked and smiled and made excited noises. “Want to go again?” And with another smile, he and his Angel were off again.

It’s incredible experiences like these that mark every race we run in. It doesn’t matter the challenge, you see the beauty of humanity and feel that higher power that moves us all. To everyone involved, it’s more than just a race, it’s triumph!

The mission of myTEAM triumph is to provide the ultimate racing experience for individuals with disabilities.  To get involved, check out their website. You can find various chapters on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

myTEAM TRIUMPH is proudly sponsored by AdvisaCare

Featured AdvisaCarian: Tracy Montgomery

Congratulations to Tracy Montgomery, West Michigan Regional Manager, on her appointment to the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo Board of the Case Management Society of America, a national organization dedicated to advocating for patient well-being and improved care.  As Secretary, she will have greater local and national visibility, assisting the President in her duties, keeping records of meetings, and networking with key individuals in the practice of case management.  When asked what this new role means for her, Tracy answered,

I can now be an influential voice on the Board and in the field of case management. I have the opportunity to really make a difference, not just for my self, but for my company as well.

Tracy joined the AdvisaCare team about 13 and a half years ago.  A staff nursing hopeful, Tracy had many years of experience in the health care delivery field, managing an office of a 6-division company and then working as an LPN and MDS Coordinator.  Although she was looking for a part-time position, her experience in management and health care delivery meant that she would become Branch Manager of our Kalamazoo office.  With her knowledge and patient, proactive nature, she grew into her new role of West Michigan Regional Manager and has helped open a number of AdvisaCare branches across the country.  She has worked to expand the scope of care to brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.

Tracy is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, the first in the company to complete the nationally recognized CBIS program.  “The CBIS program is important for case managers,” she explains, “because it prepares you for working with families of brain injured patients, among other things.  The administration of care is more involved than one might think: families often go through more stages of grief and coping than the usual individuals recovering from trauma.  Being able to understand the stage an individual or family member is at helps to provide better communication and empathy.”

CBIS training also arms care providers against the behavioral challenges that accompany brain injury.  Without CBIS training, care providers can feel frustrated and underprepared and may be apt to blame the person for his or her behavior instead of the brain injury.  The training and experience from working with brain injured patients has helped Tracy be an effective mentor and go-to person for our caregivers and has enabled her to be an advocate for clients.

The mission of the Grand Rapids/ Kalamazoo CMSA is to advance the practice of Case Management and support the evolving needs of the individual Case Managers in West Michigan through education, networking and the promotion of practice standards.

This is her 3rd year as a member and she is very excited by her new appointment.  We are proud of Tracy’s accomplishments and look forward to seeing what opportunities arise for her in 2012.  To send her a shout-out, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page!