Walsinger, Shipp develop a new restorative program for residents
“If you want the best, you gotta make it the best,” said Jackie Walsinger, who is the restorative nurse program director at Donnellson Health Center, and has been in healthcare for 32 years. She and Betty Shipp, restorative aide and in healthcare for 29 years, have developed a restorative program to help residents maintain their mobility and activities of daily living.
“Working with the residents is very rewarding when you see them improve and it gives a real sense of accomplishment,” said Walsinger. “Residents enjoy the daily exercises that include walking, exercise machines and various range of motion activities. We want them to stay as active as possible.” Many times residents come to the health center for a short-term skilled care stay under Medicare, for therapy to regain their strength before returning to their home. However, sometimes they require a longer stay after the therapy program under Medicare is completed.
Health centers, such as Donnellson Health Center, have the restorative programs to continue therapy to maximize a person's level of function and minimize decline. With training, nursing assistants and physical therapy assistants engage people to participate in their care by encouraging them to make decisions.
These activities include allowing people to participate as much as possible in their daily activities, including bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom.
Restorative care also includes physical activity while promoting safety – for example, instructing a person on how to safely transfer to bed from a wheelchair. Restorative care aides reinforce the training people receive from physical, speech and respiratory therapy.
Walsinger and Shipp work closely with the therapy team at Donnellson Health Center to make sure that they are seeing overall improvements to their mobility. They are very encouraging to the residents to keep their body and mind healthy.
“Every now and then we get a resident that tells us they are just too tired to exercise. But once they complete a therapy session, they are smiling, laughing and have a little more kick to their step. They’ll be ready come back the next day for more,” said Walsinger.