Movie screenings, mah-jongg parlors, steel pan bands, and computer training are among the list of creative recreational activities HHC nursing homes patients enjoy, representing a new dimension in resident-centered care that enhances quality of life for residents - and improves emotional and physical health.
At Gouverneur Healthcare Services, two mah-jongg parlors are open to residents and their families daily. For Gouverneur’s large Chinese-American community, playing the ancient and popular game helps residents establish friendships and move independently without assistance from hospital staff.
“I have one resident who went home, but he comes back three to four days a week to play with his old buddies,” said Maryethel Sowa, Assistant Director of Hospitals. “People can sit and watch, strategize and talk. Family members visit and drink tea. There’s also music - a real community atmosphere.”
At Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a youth steel pan band has been entertaining residents and will expand the program later this year to teach a number of patients in this mostly Caribbean resident population how to play the instruments. Listening to the music promotes wellness, manages stress and relieves pain. Range of motion, muscle strength and endurance also improves for those who learn to play the pans.
“This will help them enhance memory, express their feelings and improve communication. For those who are withdrawn, it can help bring them out of their shell,” said Dr. Bayo Sedenu, Associate Director of Hospitals, Director of Rehabilitation Service.
At Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, residents send emails and video messages from computer workstations and learn basic programs including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and design programs. Quadriplegics and others with limited use of extremities utilize adapted computer equipment.
“It helps build their self esteem. It gives them an incentive to learn,” said Stephen Catullo, Senior Director of Rehabilitation Medicine and Patient Education Programs. “For many, they don’t have their GED or high school diploma, so this is a real morale booster.”
Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Home’s state-of-the-art movie theater - sponsored by a $15,000 grant from Sea View's voluntary auxiliary - has a 106-inch screen where residents and their families and visitors enjoy daily viewings of recent movies and black and white classics.
As long term care becomes increasing more resident-centered, the stimulating recreational programs that HHC nursing homes have developed can be expected to take an even greater role in well-rounded and effective patient care.