Taking patients outside of the facility can be a great way to change their outlook on their rehab potential. My first job in an acute care hospital I did just that.
It was in 1996, before PPS and productivity was carefully scrutinized in the rehab field. With the assistance of nurses, I managed to take a long-term ICU patient outside in the front of the hospital with five liters of oxygen running and a couple of IVs attached to the wheelchair. We successfully managed the elevator and crowded hallways to sit outside for about 25 minutes. This may have been a pivotal point for both of us.
He slowly improved and was moved to a regular unit and I realized the power of being outside of the hospital. Beyond the cold walls and sterile environment that make up a hospital or rehab facility, there are blue skies and sunshine. There is hope for those that see it.
Weather permitting, I have consistently offered to patients the chance to go outside and get some "fresh air and sunshine." Some agree readily, others refuse. It is when they refuse I pull out my tools to encourage everyone to get out. I have brought a paint ball gun into work and did a group therapy session with it. It was a mess (I had to clean it up), but it was a success and got people outside and moving. They shot at targets, not each other so no one got injured. My BB gun target shooting worked just as well too.
My next plan is to go shopping with a group. For those who cannot see a future outside of their own hospital bed or outside of playing Bingo with activities, take them outside and talk with them. We had a bench outside of an exit at one facility I worked at. I learned a lot about the history of the patients just sitting there enjoying the weather doing leg and arm exercises along with them.