Reach Out

BMNH’s silver lining from the haze

Mar 2016    

Last year, the severe haze conditions affected many people. The residents at the Bethany Methodist Nursing Home (BMNH) run by Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) had to adjust their daily schedules as well. Before the haze, volunteers would bring residents out in their wheelchairs to enjoy nearby amenities or rehabilitative exercises.

What was disaster for the region turned out to be a catalyst for residents to choose the type of activities that they wanted to participate in.

To replace the outdoor activities, BMNH introduced ‘HOPE KEE’, an indoor person-centered programme to keep the residents active physically and mentally.

Over three mornings every week, residents got to choose activities that they liked to do from a menu, such as cooking, crafts, karaoke, personal grooming, table games, and reading. Each activity was run at a different location in the Home.

More mobile residents were encouraged to make their own way to the various venues under the watchful eyes of nurses. Initially, there was resistance from some residents used to being wheeled around the home.

These residents had to overcome “learned helplessness”, after being cared for in all aspects by BMNH staff. They were empowered to do some activities by themselves, such as wheeling themselves to activity rooms or to prepare food for other residents.

At the same time, nursing staff also experienced a paradigm shift. Where they used to provide almost all the care for the residents, they had to take a step back. They became facilitators and cheerleaders to the residents, to empower their choices.

The initiative also fostered community spirit. With help from volunteers, the residents would prepare simple food such as Milo, biscuits and coffee for one another. The residents would also help in setting up the hall for craft activities and table games.

HOPE KEE was so well received that it became part of the Home’s regular programmes. Chan Sow Har, a resident, said, “I learnt how to make Chinese New Year lanterns and how to wrap dumplings. Eating together with many other residents instead of in the ward made me happy too.”

Photos courtesy of Methodist Welfare Services

By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team

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