January 23-29 is National Activity Professional Week and it’s a time to recognize the work of these special people. They are a vital part of helping long-term healthcare residents live a full and rich life. Dedicated activity professionals enhance the heart and spirit of their facilities. Let’s take some time to highlight the profession and the importance of activities.
As people age or become ill, the ability to participate in everyday activities, hobbies or social events may diminish or become difficult. Lack of social engagement can lead to feelings of loneliness or sadness that can impact overall health. Activities help improve cognitive function, maintain emotional health and boost the immune system. It has been proven that older people who continue to participate in activities and remain socially engaged can improve their physical and social well-being.
The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was one of the first advocates for using activities to benefit people with health problems. While caring for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, she worked to include recreation activities in their recovery. At the time, a doctor’s treatment was solely administering drugs or performing surgery. Nightingale advocated for more inclusive treatments, established a room for recreation and developed various recreation programs based on the patients’ levels of functioning.
Activity professionals are more than just “fun”
According to the National Association of Activity Professionals (NAAP), “ ‘Activities’ refer to any endeavor, other than routine ADLs, in which a resident participates that is intended to enhance her/his sense of well-being and to promote or enhance physical, cognitive, and emotional health. These include, but are not limited to, activities that promote self-esteem, pleasure, comfort, education, creativity, success, and independence.”
Activities are also important for residents because they help them to freely express themselves, increase and develop social skills, and prevent isolation. Activities also have a number of emotional health benefits such as decreased anxiety and depression and increased feelings of self-worth and sense of belonging. Studies have shown that participation in activities also improves alertness and behavior in people who have dementia or other cognitive problems.
According to NAAP, “The Activity Profession focuses on individuals working in the long-term care spectrum with individuals living in communities designed to assist in the quality of care and quality of life. The Activity Profession focuses on the social model of care in ensuring recreational needs are met. The Activities Program focuses on services and programs that will help individuals to get well, live well, and stay well through non pharmaceutical interventions.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, activities professionals have been vital to ensuring that residents maintained social engagement. These professionals learned and sometimes invented new ways to help residents remain connected and healthy. The daily value they bring to our nation’s long-term care facilities is tremendous. The Compliance Store would like to wish all activities professionals a Happy National Activity Professional Week!
Let us help
The Compliance Store has a wide range of resources to support activities professionals, including a dedicated Binder Basics that is a “how-to-framework” for initiating and maintaining a meaningful activities program. The structure begins with ensuring the qualifications and competency of the Activities Director, followed by the relevant regulatory information activities professionals will need in order to be survey-ready. Subsequent sections house sample forms, activity plans, and additional information needed to carry out the day-to-day activities of the program. The binder concludes with volunteer information, quality reporting, policies, and care plans.
For more information, call The Compliance Store at 877-582-7347 or contact us online here. Connect with us via Facebook or LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with our latest resources and announcements