Editor’s note: McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living are profiling the McKnight’s 2022 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 5 through Aug. 10. For additional McKnight’s Women of Distinction content, visit this page.

The phrase, “I don’t know what we would do without her” frequently is used to describe Touchmark’s vice president of clinical services, Wendy Schrag, colleagues say.

Schrag, who helps run Touchmark in Beaverton, OR, fervently advocates for innovative health and memory care practices. She devised a full-time overnight nursing support program in 2021 and introduced the Struthers Parkinson’s certification requirement for all Touchmark staff members.

Most notably, colleagues said, Schrag spread the Best Friends Approach to memory care throughout Touchmark, including daily fitness workouts, gardening, storytelling, music and daily outings. And her Fragrance in Frames program combines essential oils with paints, providing health and mood benefits for those living with dementia. 

The results of Fragrance in Frames were truly remarkable, according to Alyssa Shelton, senior marketing and public relations writer at Touchmark. Agitation and behaviors decreased. Attention span increased and social engagement expanded. Even residents’ handwriting improved.

In 2017, the International Council on Active Aging recognized Schrag’s work with its Innovators Achievement Award. Subsequently, she has shared this program at an international conference and with other audiences.

Schrag also volunteers as an Alzheimer’s Association support group facilitator, is board-certified in geriatrics and holds a graduate certificate in long-term care management. 

Caregiving has been one of her life-long passions. She started as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home when she was only 14 years old. 

In 2004, she was promoted to memory care manager from her previous part-time role at Touchmark. In this role, Schrag provided support and education to staff, constantly reinforcing Touchmark’s priority of person-centered care. She successfully elevated the clinical quality, fitness and wellness opportunities and significantly reduced the reliance on psychotropic medications, colleagues noted. 

Schrag’s hard work again led her to her current role of vice president of clinical services. Today, she is responsible for supporting and directing all clinical services for Touchmark’s 13 communities in the United States and Canada, ensuring that Touchmark complies with all state and federal guidelines and provides the highest quality of care.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors include OnShift and PharMerica, and the Bronze sponsor is Reliant Rehabilitation. Table sponsors included Dreamscape, Gojo/Purell and Sound Physicians.