Debbie Hommel's A.D. Tips
Dedicated to helping Activity Professionals with the daily operation of their department.
by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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DEBBIE HOMMEL
Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
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Caring by Design:
National Activity Professionals Week
January 17th through the 22nd, 2010
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

The word “professional” implies an individual has training, certification, skill and
specialized knowledge in a particular vocation.  Activity Professionals embody that
definition through completion of the MEPAP (Modular Education Program for Activity
Professionals) and becoming certified through NCCAP (National Certification Council
of Activity Professionals).  Although we are a younger profession in comparison to other
professions (nursing and social work), we have come a long way in assuming our role
as the activity professional of today.   National Activity Professionals Week is a week to
celebrate our growth and achievement.    Additionally, this year is extra special because
our National Certification Council of Activity Professionals (NCCAP) will be celebrating
their 25th year anniversary.  

The activity profession attracts caring individuals which characterizes this year’s theme
“Caring by Design”.  Activity professionals and the programs we create put the “home”
in nursing home.  Although there are classes, seminars, web sites and books to train
and guide us in creating the best program or the right approach for our varying
populations, it is the caring that sets us apart and creates a home.    The caring activity
professional has a deep regard for the lives of others; believes in making the most of
each moment; and practices a cooperative approach to caring.  The caring activity
professional often brings these qualities with them when they arrive to their first activity
job.  It is hard to teach these qualities in books or classes.  

So, as we approach our special week – you may sit back and wait for "royal treatment",
which unfortunately – may not happen.  Don’t miss the opportunity to use this week as
an excuse to "toot your own horn". Consider the following ideas to recognize and
promote the value of therapeutic activities in your facility:

1. Create and display a photo gallery of activities and outline their benefits on a main
bulletin board or thoroughfare.   Use a digital frame to have a continuous show of the
programs and activities in your facility.

2. Plan an "Activity Open House". Send out invitations and have display areas set up in
your recreation room which emphasizes the value of therapeutic activities. Provide
information regarding the benefits of activities and create displays with materials and
photographs. Give out promotional items related to NAPW. Serve refreshments,
decorate festively, and have door prizes.

3. Find some poems and writings about activities.  Many of the activity sites, including
mine, have poems devoted to our work and efforts.   My favorites are "The Activity Pest"
and "Activities are...". Display them in common areas, send them to the families or read
them at activity groups.   I have several on my web site.
 http://www.dhspecialservices.
com/poemstips.htm

4. Create a video or photo DVD emphasizing the benefits of each activity. Set the video
up in the lobby, play it continuously with a poster, tri-board or printed materials
explaining NAPW.    Create posters and signs for display throughout the building. Use
the NAAP theme - "Caring by Design”.

5. Conduct an "Activity Scavenger Hunt". Create a game card for staff/residents/families
to complete certain tasks. To get credit for the tasks, the activity staff need to authorize
the cards. Tasks may include bringing a resident to an activity, having a cup of coffee in
the activity room, sitting and doing a 1-1 activity with a resident and other related,
interdisciplinary activity tasks. After the game cards are completed, they are placed into
a drawing. The drawing for a winner may be conducted at a party or reception at the end
of the week.

6. Conduct an "Activity Trivia Game" which is similar to the scavenger hunt. Trivia
questions can be related to your activity program, staff or the benefits of activities. Again,
the completed game sheets are submitted, with possible winners being drawn daily.

7. Create an open mural where staff, families and residents can write their thoughts
about activities. A large roll/sheet of white paper can be hung on a plain wall, with an
attached marker on a string. The heading of the paper may be the theme "Caring by
Design". A question under the theme can encourage people to write what activities
means to them.

8. Plan an "Activity Olympics". Each day of the week can offer various activities related to
a particular activity domain. For example, Monday may be "Mental Aerobics Day"; while
Tuesday may be "Let's Get Physical Day". Each day will focus on the various activities in
that domain, with emphasis on the benefits. Interdisciplinary contests and challenges
can be integrated into the program plan.

For more information related to celebrating NAPW - you can contact our National
Association. A free NAP WEEK information packet is available from the NAAP Office.
THENAAP@aol.com. The Packet includes ideas about how to celebrate the week,
sample proclamations and press releases.

For promotional materials related to NAPW check out the links below.  Before all is said
and done, celebrate as a department, with your professional peers, by having a
luncheon or private celebration for your department.  Activity Directors can purchase
recognition materials as gifts for their staff.

And if you are going this alone - give yourself the gift of professional membership and
affiliation. If you are not a member of your local, state or national association - treat
yourself to a membership in honor of our week. Membership in professional
organizations provides the Activity Professional with support, current information, state
of the art resources and validation for the work that we do.   If you are not NCCAP
certified, make this the year to achieve that goal.  

For information about certification, feel free to contact me at
debbiehommel@comcast.
net.  I will be happy to assist you in meeting your professional goal of certification.