By Ericha Loosbrock, admissions and marketing director
The therapy teams at Evergreen Nursing Home and San Luis Care Center in Alamosa, Colorado, have worked hard this summer 2018 to provide unique and individualized therapy experiences to their residents.
Greg Richardson, director of rehab services at San Luis, encouraged his team to think of a fun or different activity they could offer to residents while accomplishing therapy goals. His team responded with, “Why only one activity? Why not have themed days where everyone can participate and really enjoy the benefits of being in therapy?”
So far, the teams have offered carnival days, a softball game outing, shopping and cooking experiences and a picnic in the park.
The carnival theme originated during National Skilled Nursing Care Week, but the residents and associates had so much fun they all agreed to carry it on for an extra week. The games included piñatas, fishing ponds, World’s Strongest Resident, Punch a Prize, ping pong ball toss, Sticky Fingers (which involved throwing and sticking figures on the mirror), a craft table and football ring toss.
After the residents went through each obstacle or game, they ended with a prize and were treated to a special candy at the end of their gym visit. Residents lined up outside the gym to make a quick run through the obstacle course and had everybody laughing with their competiveness.
Shopping and cooking may seem like a traditional therapy goal, but in this case, it was much more than that.
Holly Murphy, speech therapist at Evergreen Nursing Home, shared, “As a therapist, we usually have to gently lead our patients throughout a shopping or cooking experience. In the case of two residents, we were able to watch them work together as a team comparing their recipes, preparing their lists and prepping the food to provide an authentic Mexican dinner for the associates.
“It was rewarding to see the pride on their faces when the staff members came back and asked for second helpings,” Murphy added. “Our goal is to create a fun environment where residents look forward to going to the gym each day. We believe that we can accomplish our therapy goals through a creative process and provide a fun experience for everyone involved.”
On June 27, residents at both centers banded together to make a very large and loud cheering team for the Life Care softball team. Our team is led and coached by April DeVilbiss, physical therapist assistant at Evergreen. The therapists from both facilities have been sharing their ballpark successes and woes with residents in the therapy gym.
After several discussions, DeVilbiss worked with the activities teams in both buildings to arrange a field trip! This was no small feat and was only accomplished with the help of therapy team members and leadership from Evergreen Nursing Home.
Elizabeth Mosny, a resident at San Luis, helped create posters for the outing.
The weather was beautiful, and with the help of several therapists, the residents were able to get out in the fresh air and provide a little coaching assistance from the sidelines.
“We learned that several of them know more about baseball than we do, and we look forward to trying this activity again,” said DeVilbiss.
The joint team is preparing more fun activities for the future.