Happy Activity Professionals Week! This page is dedicated the Activity Professionals who continuously share their talents, creativity, spirit, enthusiasm, energy, love and compassion. Activity Professionals truly are the heartbeat of each and every facility. This is your week! Don’t let it pass by unnoticed. The following are some great resources, ideas, and products to help you celebrate! If you have any ideas you’d like to share, contact Kim Grandal.
Looking for great ways to promote and celebrate National Activity Professionals Week? Well, this Tool-Kit comes with 25+ downloadable activities, promotional materials, forms, icebreakers and more. For just $24.95 you can have a fantastic Activity Professionals Week designed not only to honor Activity Professionals, but also to educate others about the Activity Profession and the types of services we offer. The majority of the items in this Tool-Kit may also be used throughout the year to promote and educate others about activities.
Honor Those That Re-create Lives: Celebrate National Activity Professionals Week
Kim Grandal ACC/EDU
National Activity Professionals Week is celebrated the last week of January. It is designed to honor activity professionals and the significant role they play in enriching the lives of the elderly and those they serve.
The activity profession has evolved dramatically over the years. State and federal regulations have placed heightened value on quality of life activities, but the true sense of importance became apparent in June, 2006, with implementation of F Tag 248, revised Activities Guidance to Surveyors. This guidance clearly states that meaningful activities and quality of life are equally important as quality of care.
Today’s activity professionals, many of whom are nationally certified by the National Certification Council of Activity Professionals, plan, implement and evaluate person-centered, meaningful activities, specifically adapted to meet the needs and interests of each resident. Their particular training prepares them to work with diverse populations in a variety of settings and includes thorough assessment, care planning, and evaluation for each resident. Therapeutic activity services may include pet therapy, music, exercise, intergenerational programs, community outings, creative-expressive programs, cognitively challenging games, cultural programs, educational opportunities, spirituality, clubs and special events, programs for the cognitively impaired, domestic activities, and so much more.
Even with more stringent qualifications, expectations and regulations, many activity professionals feel that they lack professional respect and appreciation. In fact, this was the number one concern that activity professionals across the country expressed in a recent questionnaire hosted by Re-Creative Resources Inc., called “Activity Professionals Speak-Out”. As the administrator of your health care facility, National Activity Professionals Week is a perfect time to express appreciation on behalf of the residents, family and staff.
Quite often the activity professional initiates and implements their own recognition events during their special week as a means of promoting the value of therapeutic activities. Most activity professionals would truly appreciate recognition and appreciation from the administrator and management team. The celebration and appreciation doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming but just a simple gesture to honor those individuals who do much more than provide activities. Here are just some other ways in which Administration, Department Heads, and facility staff can honor activity professionals this week and throughout the year.
Write an article for the facility newsletter thanking Activity Professionals.
Send each Activity Professional a letter of appreciation.
Announce Activity Professionals Week over the public address system.
Create and display flyers, posters, banners, etc.
Organize and participate in other events scheduled during the week, i.e. Talent Show, themed-events, Fashion Show, etc.
Have the department heads co-facilitate group activities throughout the week.
Purchase t-shirts, mugs, pens etc. for the Activity Department with themes such as: Activities: More Than Just Bingo, or utilize the theme created by the National Activity Professionals Association.
Give small gifts such as flowers, candy, gift certificates, gift baskets, etc.
Send out a press release that promotes the benefits of activities at the facility.
Host a ceremony, inviting residents, staff and family members. Give out awards, certificates, etc.
Contact your state officials and ask that a proclamation be issued declaring that January National Activity Professionals Week in your city and state.
Incorporate mandatory annual activity in-services at your facility.
Support further education and continuing education. Activity professionals often encounter difficulty in finding the time or money to attend educational sessions.
Support and encourage national certification. The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals is a Certifying Body recognized by Federal law, and incorporated in many state regulations. It is the only national organization that exclusively certifies activity professionals who work with the elderly.
Purchase membership to state or National Activity Professionals Association. The NJ Activity Professionals Association offers affordable, educational workshops and conferences. Membership leads to education which leads to higher quality programming and better surveys.
Assist the Activity staff in creating storyboards to put on display in the lobby. Other departments can help by participating in raffles, providing refreshments, transport residents to the display area, etc.
Assure that the Activity Department is staffed appropriately and that the activity professionals are being paid accordingly. These were also major concerns for those who participated in the “Activity Professionals Speak-Out.”Unfortunately, not all states have mandatory staff to resident ratios for resident activities, and even those that do, may be considered bare minimum. NJ is one of the states that does have mandatory and advisory regulations however, the needs of each facility varies tremendously. In addition, many activities can be led by volunteers and facility staff, but activity professionals are specially trained to assess, plan, facilitate, and evaluate activities and this exclusive training should be taken into consideration when determining salaries.
Michael Hotz, LNHA, FACHCA, Administrator at the Health Center at Bloomingdale in Bloomingdale NJ, states, “Recreation is the sizzle on the steak of life in a Nursing Home.” As the administrator of your health care facility, I’m sure you understand and appreciate the person-centered quality of life services provided by the activity professionals. So, mark your calendars for this is the ideal time to honor the dedicated activity professionals in your facility.
This article was originally published in the American College of Health Care Administrators NJ Chapter News, December, 2008 (Volume 1, Issue 2).
By Marline E. Jean ADPC, CDP
Again and again I say come and join me.
This is only what I ask for.
In my mindvisions I have for you.
I'm here to offer stimulation and tune in your emotion.
You are the reason that I am here. Reminisce, Stimulate, Socialize, Dance, Re-create, Sing
Develop a theme for the Activity Department and have T-shirts made from a local printing company. Have Activity staff wear their shirts all week or on a designated day. This really promotes unity and the staff love it. Some themes I’ve used in the past include:
*Activities: More Than Just Bingo
*Activities: The Other Best Medicine
*Therapeutic Recreation: Re-Creating, Mind, Body and Spirit
*Lynne Wilksman from Abescon Manor in NJ, coined the phrase: *Activities is my Therapy.
Be creative. Better yet, turn it into a contest. Ask residents, staff, etc. to develop a theme and the winner receives a free t-shirt! You can also buy themed shirts from the gifts section mentioned above.
*Host a breakfast, luncheon, or dinner for the Activity Department
*Bring Activity Staff out for a meal
*Have a surprise party
*Have a Guess Who Baby Picture Contest
*Have a Who’s Who in the Activity Dept. Contest
*Have a Department Heads Facilitate Activities Day
*Have a “Best Theme Event Contest”. Invite staff, residents, and family to offer ideas for theme events. The contestants must give ideas for decorations, food, costumes/apparel, music, etc. Winner receives a prize and the chance to plan/facilitate the event.
*Have residents vote and give awards or certificates for various categories such as:
Many long-term care staff, family members, visitors, and even residents, lack a thorough knowledge of the importance and benefits of activities in a health-care environment. Therefore it is extremely important for the Recreation Department to market, promote, and educate others. Hosting an annual “Activity Fair” is a great way to promote the Recreation Department, and boost staff morale, teamwork, and have fun.
Commit to hosting the Activity Fair each year during National Activity Professionals Week.
Months in advance, set up an Activity Fair committee. The committee should be made up of Activity personnel and anyone else that may wish to assist such as Volunteers, Residents, Marketing Department, etc.
Begin advertising at least a month prior. Advertising may include the facility or corporate newsletter, flyers, posters, send emails, etc. Make sure that all management is aware of the upcoming fair.
Discuss the possibility of it becoming a Mandatory In-service for all facility staff. Host the event in the largest room available. The more space, the better.
Create a variety of booths such as: Physical Games and Exercise, Sensory Stimulation, Music, Cognitive Activities, Creative Activities, Adapting Activities, Committees, Leisure Education, etc. Be sure to have an “Interdisciplinary Approach to Quality of Life” booth that demonstrates the CMS Activity Guidance to Surveyors. “
Each booth may have printed materials, a storyboard explaining the purpose, benefits, etc., sample equipment, and a game or contest.
Have a “Who’s Who” in the Activity Department Contest.
Hand out raffle tickets for each contest, game or activity to those who participate. Have a variety raffle prizes such as mugs, t-shirts, pens, etc.
Make sure that all participants sign in at the door.
Schedule the event to include as many shifts as possible such as 10:00am-5:00pm. You should even do a smaller one for the 11pm-7am shift if it becomes a mandatory facility in-service.
Basketball, Bowling, Toss games (create a physical impairment such as blindfolding the participant)
Display a variety of adapted physical games such as toss games, basketball, bowling, golf, etc, and exercise equipment such as scarves, ribbons, therabands, parachute, etc.
Karaoke Contest or Name That Tune
Karaoke Machine, sample music
Trivia Contest, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune
Display a variety of trivia books, discussion materials, word games, etc.
Craft project, gardening project, etc
Display various craft supplies and adapted equipment
Bingo, Horseracing, Black Jack
Display various bingo cards, adapted chips, card shuffler, large print playing cards. Pokeno, Horseracing, etc.
Give a hand massage, have participants guess various aromas
Display multi-sensory equipment such as bubble towers, projectors, light sprays, aroma therapy, various tactile equipment, etc. Flaghouse provides a free SNOEZELEN CD that can be played.
Play Leisure Bingo, have participants fill out a self-leisure assessment
Have variety of Leisure education materials such as a list of all the activities the Activity Department offers and the benefits of the activities or create an “Introduction to the Activity Department” Manual” that describes the role of the Activity Department and the various programs offered.
It’s so important to let everyone know about your programs all year round.
Activities at Connecticut Baptist Homes By Stephanie A. Zilinski, TRD, PhD
We are always striving to develop creative techniques and implementing innovative ideas to improve resident care. The Therapeutic Recreation Department staff developed a program to give residents more say in planned activities which has resulted in greater resident participation and stronger relationships.
These are programs are planned and carried out by CBH staff, family, residents, and volunteers working together. The programs meet the needs of the residents as the resident defines them. In other words, the programs are done with the residents, not for them. Jody Roberts, Jenny Degray and Madeline Lopez, CBH office staff kicked off these programs by conducting a “Sweatin ‘to the Oldies” exercise activity.
The Dietary Department worked side by side with the Therapeutic Recreation staff to provide an afternoon of Malt Shop Memories. Residents discusses bobby socks, school sweaters, had chocolate malt shakes made in a large industrial blender right in front of them! Malts were served with a straw, whipped cream and a cherry on top! The Community Room was decorated with a constructed 57' Chevy, A pretend large jukebox while jukebox classics from the 1950s were played on a boom box located in the 57’ Chevy. This was a good focal point along with the giant “Rock and Roll” record and eighteen 33” records displayed all over the room with favorite artist from the fifties!
Donnie Morro, maintenance supervisor conducted a high school Wood Shop in the community room. Residents sanded, painted and decorated wooden picture frames to display in their rooms. Sheila Banas, DNS and “Heckling” Helen Cortes, Admissions coordinator provided an entertaining Cooking class On September 22nd. Residents and staff baked fresh homemade apple pies, while Helen heckled! Residents were greeted with the scent of fresh baked apple pies as they entered into the Community Room. Aroma's of cinnamon and spices brought back memories immediately to our Residents.
Some Residents remembered their mother baking a delicious hot apple pie as a Christmas tradition, or homemade apple cider that became a family favorite on those cold stormy winter nights. When it comes to our memories, it is a scent that reminds you of things more so than taste or touch, a relaxing occasion, that can assist Residents in recalling and reminiscing special times in their life. Residents had a chance to get to know the staff of CBH on a more personal level by finding new and satisfying social relationships and interacting in their environment. New and innovative ideas improve the lives of residents, and that is our ultimate goal.
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