Andrea Sheehy ’96, ‘98, is passionate about helping patients return home

Andrea Sheehy, communication sciences and disorders alumna, earned her B.S. in 1996 and M.S. in 1998. Sheehy was recently appointed as director of therapy operations at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northwest Ohio, a 40-bed facility that is the only freestanding rehabilitation hospital in the greater Toledo area. The new facility opened in spring 2016.

Sheehy has numerous responsibilities with her new position, and has hired and trained over 30 staff members since last January. She is responsible for budgeting, scheduling, knowing patient status, and oversight of all day-to-day operations.

The hospital admits patients with complex medical needs that require intensive therapy, from such conditions as stroke, multiple joint replacement, multiple sclerosis, or traumatic brain injury. Sheehy states that the real joy of her work is that the purpose of the facility is to prepare patients to be able to return to their homes.

“What I love about my position is that over 80% of patients do successfully return home, as a result of receiving intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy,” she said. The facility strives to be patient-centered and family-centered, and it is Sheehy’s job to ensure this focus is maintained at all times.

Sheehy noted that striving to maintain the highest quality of care across all three disciplines is a key element of her job. As one example, she recently oversaw comprehensive facility-wide training in implementing best practices in standardizing diet for dysphagia (swallowing disorders). The hospital’s next big project is to obtain specialized certification in stroke and traumatic brain injury from the Joint Commission.

Sheehy is a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist who has worked in a wide variety of medical settings. In her career she has specialized in working with patients with traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other neurological conditions to improve their speech and swallowing.

She sees her career success as directly linked to her education at Bowling Green State University. “The graduate program in communication disorders at BGSU not only provided me with a solid foundation in the evaluation and treatment of adults with neurogenic communication disorders, but also allowed me to apply those concepts in working in various settings with practicing speech language pathologists,” Sheehy said.   

Sheehy also serves as an adjunct faculty member at BGSU. “The college is fortunate to be able to draw on Andrea’s expertise as an adjunct instructor in the graduate program in CDIS, where she has taught courses in aphasia, motor speech disorders, and head and neck cancer,” stated Dr. Lynne Hewitt, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“Andrea’s drive and passion to ensure each person facing challenges following neurological injuries and illnesses receives the very best care is evident in all she does, and CDIS is proud to have her as a prominent alumna of our program.”