Students in Patient Care I chose to reach out to the elderly patients at Orchard Park Rehabilitation and HealthCare facility in Orem Utah. Orchard Park is a skilled nursing facility whose goal is to provide “Compassion and Innovative Rehab Services” by helping each patient achieve their maximum functional capacity and enjoy their highest quality of life.
Students were committed to at least three visits of at least 1 ½ hours each. Their goal was to visit with the patients, select one patient, learn about their lives and write a short life history for them. Those stories were then presented as a gift to the patient.
What they found truly surprised them. “These are amazing people!” said one student. While many patients struggle with memory loss, many of the elderly have fascinating stories to tell. Several women were married before World War II or shortly thereafter. Theirs was a unique perspective on the war that most today hear little about.
Not only were the elderly patients cheered by the visits, the students learned better to interact with older patients and develop their communication skills. Students reported the experience helped them relate better to elderly relatives such as grandparents.