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About Sue

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  1. If you cannot take your residents out to a parade, consider having a parade in the facility and inviting family and staff children to participate as well as some residents. You can't go wrong with a picnic for the 4th. Again, I would try to invite families and children. You can have your residents work on a patriotic craft to decorate for the party and possibly even cook something -- even if you just decorate a cake with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries (to make a flag or go with a different resident suggestion) if you do not have an oven. We once improvised a sparkler with rolled construction paper and shredded mylar (that you often stuff baskets with) coming out the end. We stuck them in our plants for a festive look. Use patriotic music to celebrate. You could easily have a patriotic sing-a-long as well. Since the 4th is fast approaching and it is on Saturday this year, you may wish to celebrate on Friday. This works best if you have a lot of families who take residents out on the weekend.
  2. You can always check with the local library. Most library systems (at least here in PA) allow you to request items from the county's system and pick them up at your local branch. If you are able to burn a CD, then you could have a permanent copy -- not that I said that for legal reasons. I'm able to get just about any type of music I need for theme parties and everyday from my library.
  3. Sue


    So many good ideas already. I have also had success doing a similar project to the biography project. Try it, it's so good for you and the community. With 1:1 visits, you really need to taylor ideas to the resident. If the resident loves arts and crafts, remember that just about any craft project you do in a group can be done 1:1, so set aside enough materials for a few 1:1 visits afterward. Even if you can't get the person to do it, you may be able to show an example to the resident that will hopefully lead to reminiscing. Spiritual visits are great 1:1 activities, and you can often find church and other spiritual volunteers that match the beleif of your resident. Even someone who is comatose may benefit from a reading from a spiritual text. And pet visits would be my number one 1:1 activitiy (but be sure the resident is not afraid of the animal).
  4. Sue

    Pet Therapy

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by Pet Days or what the problem is with them. If your administrator is upset, however, I'm guessing that there is some upset with the pets. Perhaps you have too many at once. For an administrator who is upset with pets, point to resources that show the positive effect of pets, like the folks who posted about the Eden Alternative. And consider, having fewer pets at once. I have had a lot of success focussing pet visits as 1:1 visits. I like to take a day to visit my folks who like pets. I have not had much issue with having volunteers with pet therapy dogs visit, which may reassure your administrator. They are usually insured by the Pet Therapy organization. It's important to have a list of people to visit and more important to have a list of people NOT to visit who are afraid of dogs. Dogs should be on a leash or in a closed off room for a short period with residents who like animals. You should have a written pet policy that states that only animals who are friendly and not disruptive should enter. You should have a copy of the pets current vacinations as well. I hope that helps.
  5. It's best to have someone in for at least part of the day to do activities on the weekend. That said, if you cannot have anyone there, look for volunteers. This could be from the community, family members and even within nursing or housekeeping. I've had success with churches on the weekends doing bible studies and even some who had pianists who lead hymns, but even if they visited individually with people it would be great. Have a designated person, like an aide, to answer any questions when they are there. This is very important for any volunteer. Pet visits are great on the weekend, and many volunteers with certified therapy dogs are only available on the weekend. Work with your DON to see if an aide could lead a 30 minute activity once (or more) a day on the weekend. They could lead trivia or a word game or read poetry. I've had aides who lead wonderful sing-alongs because they were so talented. They can also help just hand out word games. I've had family members come in and lead a simple card game or dominos. Because it was a small group and something they and their loved one enjoyed, they didn't feel intimidated. Look at every visitor as a potential volunteer. I've even had a few residents who were capable of leading bingo and loved it. A few "live" activites (by this I mean something other than a video) will really help break up the day for your residents. Be sure to follow up with volunteers on Monday or Tuesday to see how their experience was to ensure a happy, returning volunteer.
  6. It sounds like you have a lot going on without a lot of support. But rest assured, you can bring your skilled people on an outing. I have brought many skilled residents out, but it does take a lot of help. Keep working with your DON, and stress to her the need for an aide to help change a resident if needed, transfer, etc. At the same time look for outside volunteers. You could use private aides of residents who you are bringing, and definitely look to family members. You will have to plan well in advance, but it can be done. I have even had family members who were so touched that I brought their loved one out, that they volunteered for other trips even when their loved one was not involved. If the resident is a member of a church, you might find a volunteer there. Also, you might have 1 or 2 residents in your assisted living who could help push a wheelchair if you explained to them that these residents will not be able to go out without help. Aim small for the first time. With extra volunteers you will have less seats for your skilled residents, but that's okay. I had a lot of success taking residents to the small museums near me. If you work with the museum ahead of time they are often willing to go an extra mile and may even have volunteers to give a tour or help push. The small museum is good, because for this group a shorter visit (about an hour) in a smaller area is easier to manage. But, be sure you tour the place ahead of time to see if you can easily get wheelchairs in and out. I've had to use freight elevators at small places, but it worked. And the smaller places are much less likely to have crowded areas. The movies could be another option. This may sound terrible, but it is an option: when I first started, an aide was not available, so the aides were instructed to double up on incontinence products for the residents going out. You do what you can. The scenic outings are great, but think about augmenting them a few times a year with a small museum or other historic site. I hope that helps. It was quite successful for my group. On a different note, the resident who you described as being a bit dangerous with her power chair worries me. This should be an issue to bring to your Morning Meeting or Care Planning Team. When we had concerns, we had the therapy department give them a driving test to see if they were capable of safely driving the power chair. If not, they were not allowed to use them because of safety concerns. This should be addressed in a family meeting. If this person goes out with you, you will definitely need a volunteer to be with them and guide her every move.
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