A trip to Dunkin Donuts might not seem to be therapeutic in nature, but such an outing often provides an excellent opportunity for patients in a skilled nursing facility to navigate a real life situation. From opening the door and walking to the counter, to holding the food while trying to maintain balance, the patient, accompanied by a therapist from Alaris Health at Cherry Hill, gains greater confidence which helps when he or she returns home.
“We call the program ‘Community Reintegration,’ and it helps patients become better prepared to integrate and succeed in real life situations. These are the kinds of experiences patients will encounter once they leave our facility, and our therapists want to provide many opportunities for success before they return home,” says Ken Keegan, Administrator.
Patients come to Alaris Health at Cherry Hill to recover from a variety of conditions, including strokes, falls, back surgeries, knee surgeries, etc. While 30 years ago a patient with a knee replacement might have been hospitalized for four weeks, today that same patient is discharged in a few days to a facility where he or she can receive intensive rehabilitation.
Patients admitted to Alaris Health at Cherry Hill can vary in age and the rehabilitation program is tailored to each patient’s abilities. Whatever the condition or the age of the patients, each patient is assisted in recovery, on an individual basis, with the benefits of therapeutic, recreation, occupational therapy, physical and speech therapy.
Another therapeutic alternative is the use of a kitchen at Alaris Health at Cherry Hill, which is used to further many skills. Discussing a recipe with a patient can help with speech, while following cooking / baking directions assists in cognitive and motor skills. Another innovative and creative alternative is the use of model clay; the manipulation of the clay greatly helped with strengthening hand function. One patient recently made a model of the rehabilitation room with model clay.
The last day of each patient’s stay is always a cause for celebration. A ‘Sub Acute Graduation’ ceremony is held each week and patients give a speech about the progress they have made and the people who inspired them to recover to the best of their abilities.
“It is always a beautiful event. The patient who is leaving speaks to current patients, and it is very motivating. State of mind is truly the biggest factor in recovery and we encourage all patients to try and get back to their highest level of functioning and to regain their self esteem. Hearing the words of someone who was able to recover is inspirational to all of us,” says Mr. Keegan.
For more information about Alaris Health at Cherry Hill, please call 856 795 3131.
- PHOTO: Community Reintegration at Dunkin Donuts – Justin Randsdorp, OTR. patient Doris Schwartz, Aimee Kelly, DPT