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Focus on Geriatric and Adult Services

Pocket Therapy

Published May 5, 2014 12:32 PM by Jennifer Kay-Williams

Throughout the day, we often have to change our schedule on a moment's notice for many reasons: patients have to take a shower, leave for an appointment, finish a meal, or just have visitors on their way out or are finishing an important call. This can mean adjusting the schedule to see the next patient on the fly, and staying flexible with therapy tasks. We cannot carry every therapy material needed on our person, and running back and forth to an office is not always feasible; that is why I like to have what I call "pocket therapy" ready to go.

Pocket therapy is just what it sounds like: whatever materials I have that will fit into the pockets of a scrub top or lab coat, and that I can pull out on a moment's notice in order to avoid scrambling to find materials to address a patient's goals. The items must also be versatile enough to target multiple goals.

On any given day, you might find me walking through the building with these items on me:

● a deck of playing cards, to target sorting, sequencing, giving and following directions, describing, and memory

● a small notepad or a pack of index cards, for writing down safety strategies, recall of orientation and personal information, reading tasks, sequencing words into sentences, functional writing.

● a dry erase marker, to use with papers and worksheets that I keep on my clipboard. These worksheets are in plastic page protectors, and can be used over and over

● hard candy, mints, sugar free candy, or gum for swallowing exercises (with appropriate patients)

● change for counting

● extra pens for the patient to use in written tasks

● a deck of flashcards for naming and decsribing

I am sure that many, many more items can be added to this list, and a small tote would definitely hold a few items on a daily basis. Of course, we all try to organize ourselves at the beginning of the day so that we do not find ourselves lacking in therapy ideas or materials, but these go-to items can really fill in in a pinch. If you have your own "pocket therapy" ideas, please share them in the comments section.

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I use photos (carried on my iPad) of all areas of our facility (inside and out) to help new residents learn to orient to/navigate the building.  I also show pictures of staff members so they can begin putting names and areas of responsibility with faces.  For residents who are non-verbal, I can print these photos and keep them in their communication book for reference.

Dee, , SLP SNF May 8, 2014 8:33 PM

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