It’s National Nursing Home Week! The week of May 8th through the 14th this year is reserved for us to celebrate nursing home residents and staff. And this year’s theme is “Fulfilling the Promise.” This is how the American Health Care Association explains the theme:
“”Fulfilling the Promise” means holistic care. This is seen when staff give comfort on difficult days, smile when sadness intrudes, hug when spirits sag, friendship to lighten a day, confidence when in doubt and companionship to counter fear and loneliness. “Fulfilling the Promise” produces meaningful, and most importantly, positive outcomes, satisfaction and an excellent working environment.”
National Nursing Home Week is intended to familiarize the public with long-term care facilities and services. We know how important it is for our therapists to interact with their patients both on a clinical and personable level. Here are a few suggestions from the American Health Care Association website on how to celebrate NNHW:
—  Act of Kindness Bag — Fill a decorated bag with slips of paper suggesting different things that residents, family, friends, and staff members can do for people throughout the week. Suggestions can be simple, like sew a button on Jill’s white shirt, brush and fix Sally’s hair, tell a staff member a funny childhood story, etc. Ask the recipient to write a comment on the back of the “Act of Kindness” slip. At the end of the week, review the activities and comments to everyone.
—  Intergenerational “Life” Stories — Youngsters of any age can be fascinated by the living history that residents represent. To kids, it is hard to fathom life before McDonald’s, television (even color TV), computers, video games, cell phones, plastic bags, etc. Of course, residents who are 85 years old were 20 years old in 1946, so a veteran might tell a “tale” of combat in World War II or Korea or what life was like on the home front. Suggest discussions about the advances in technology (radio, TV, movies, telephone, etc.) which are interesting topics for children.
—  Alumni Party — Consider having an “Alumni Party” as part of the staff event (above). Invite former residents, patients (and family members) who have been discharged to home or to a community setting. Weather permitting, throw a BBQ/picnic or, if this is not possible, have a special sit down lunch or dinner.

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