Getting a little help from our friends
By Lucinda Gryzenia, RN, Inservice Nurse
Spring is here and brought the arrival of four fresh faces from DePaul’s nursing program are joining us as volunteers. The master’s level nursing program at DePaul includes a component of public service as part of its curriculum, which it calls Community Based Service Learning (CBSL). We are blessed these students chose St. Mary’s Home as their CBSL volunteer site!
Although Mary Akuamoah, Gabriel Cheeley, Erin Durflinger, and Logan Riesterer have various backgrounds, each one brings a commitment to public service and compassion for the elderly. Last month, more than 10 community organizations met with DePaul nursing students to recruit volunteers. As I explained the Little Sisters’ commitment to person-centered care, I was immediately impressed with the response from these four students and their enthusiasm for engaging with our Residents on a personal level. I am confident they will bring joy and friendship to the people who call St. Mary’s home.
Mary, Gabriel, Erin, and Logan’s work will be focused on two programs we are launching at St. Mary’s. The first is called “Music and Memory.” Based on research showing that a person with dementia retains memories of music even after other memories have been lost, the program aims to create music playlists for our Residents that include songs significant to each individual. By interviewing Residents and family members, Mary, Gabriel, Erin, and Logan will help us compile these playlists and then participate in the therapy that they provide.
In addition, Mary, Gabriel, Erin, and Logan will be working on our “Honoring Sleep” program. Based on research regarding the sleep needs of the elderly, this program will have a huge impact on the daily lives of our residents as we work to create a care schedule in line with each resident’s preferences. Our student volunteers will interview Residents and their caregivers to get a sense of their natural sleep and wake cycles. With this information in hand, our staff will work together to schedule wake times, morning care, and meals around each Resident’s preferences.
Several Residents will be thrilled for some extra shuteye each morning, which will have a positive impact on their emotional and physical health as well!
We are so excited about both of these program and we are thrilled that our student volunteers have committed to helping us launch them. Please join me in extending the warmest of welcomes to Mary, Gabriel, Erin, and Logan – we are so glad to have you as part of our family here at St. Mary’s Home!