Activities departments have been known to treat residents to experiencing specific international “days”—a day in Mexico, a day in France, and so on. And facility staffs have been known to respond creatively to the challenge, researching and presenting the appropriate costumes, music, and dances. But when a facility conducts an international “cruise” every other week, and when staff comes up with the required accoutrements for some 50 different locations throughout the world, that's another matter. And when that same staff takes residents and visitors on a whirlwind tour of six major areas of the world in a celebratory 60 minutes, that's an Event.
That was the Event offered to yours truly and other guests at Ballard Healthcare in Des Plaines, Illinois, on a sparkling September day this year. Ballard had won the 2007 OPTIMA Award for its Passage to Discovery program. This takes upwards of 50 residents, both short-stay and long-stay, on biweekly tours of exotic locations throughout the world, with facility top management serving as captain and crew and staff members bringing the culture to life, in some cases highlighting features of their own native countries. In true OPTIMA tradition, Ballard formally measured the effects of the program on resident well-being and functioning, and achieved noticeably positive results over the course of a year.
What was clearly evident to me and (I think I can confidently speak for) the other visitors was that staff members had gone to extraordinary lengths to research the costumes, music, and dances of many areas of the world, and then summoned up great energy and enthusiasm in taking their audience on the trip with them. Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management was pleased to be part of publishing, witnessing, and awarding this remarkable program.