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.
DEAR DEBBIE:
Let Debbie answer your
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Activities-A-La-Cart        
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

The activity professional devotes considerable effort toward creating the monthly
calendar, planning countless group activities and various gatherings throughout any
given month.  Very often, the 1-1 program gets pushed to the back burner and room
visits are conducted when we “have extra time” or in between all the other day to day
responsibilities.  To make room visits more visible and interesting not only to the
resident, but also to the activity professional conducting the visit, utilizing “visit carts” is
encouraged.  

The first step in organizing the 1-1 visit cart program is to come up with an interesting
name such as Activities-a-la-Cart or Activities-a-Go-Go or Activity Mobile.  The cart visits
can be scheduled onto the calendar, along with group activities.   Decorate the carts by
painting, stenciling, decoupaging or other decorative paint effects.   Bright, attractive
carts draw attention from residents and staff.  This will provoke interest and generate
greater response.   Use music with each cart, coordinating the music with the cart
theme.    For example, if doing a Smoothie Cart - play calypso music.  

Here are some examples of 1-1 visit carts:
Cooking-a-la-Cart: Toaster Oven, Blender, Portable mixer, Panini Press, or any other
small appliances which cook/prepare food quickly.  (check with maintenance)
*Activity Professional wears apron/chef hat (for ambiance).
*Prepare any number of quick foods/snacks in room.  Involve the resident in
preparation.  Make it a sensory experience for the more impaired and a life skill
activity/reminiscent approach for the more functional resident.
*Items to prepare include toaster pizzas, toast with jam, smoothies, fresh juice, shake
pudding, seasonal foods, ice cream sundaes, cheese and crackers, slice and bake
cookies (slice and bake just a few per room), herbal teas, grilled cheese sandwiches,
and deviled eggs.

Hobby-a-la-Cart - Yarn, crochet hooks, small sewing kits, word search books,
magazines, painting supplies,  jigsaw puzzles, talking books and tapes, rubber
stamping supplies to make stationary, simple wood working crafts.   Self contained kits,
with all materials for one project, can be organized into a Ziploc bag.  A photo of the
completed project can be shown to assist the resident to select project.  

Books-a-la-art – Include not only books, but tabloid magazines, Bible Alliance tapes,
catalogs, Local newspapers. This is a good activity for a volunteer.

Relaxing-a-la-Cart : Warm milk (in carafe), hot chocolate, herbal teas, cookies,
relaxation tapes/cassette player, lotions for hand massages, aromatherapy sachets,
soothing stories and poetry

Gardening-a-la-Cart: Begin with one parent plant (Spider Plant, Ivies, African Violet)
which can be used for cuttings.  Equip with small pots, soil, trowel, watering can and
small tray for work space. Include a plant book for reference and discussion.  

Party-a-la-Cart: Coordinate your 1-1 visits with theme parties in a given month. If
planning a Hawaiian Luau in the main area, put together a Hawaiian cart.  The cart
could contain tropical sensory items for the more impaired resident and Hawaiian trivia
or reminiscent materials for the higher functioning. Theme snacks could also be
included on the cart.   Of course, Hawaiian music would be playing on the battery
operated CD player and the activity professional could dress in Hawaiian wear.   

Games-a-la-Cart : Equipped with Checkers, Uno, playing cards, LCR, simple table
games, pencils, large print word games, restaurant games, and a small white board for
visual cue, trivia, word games.  This is a great cart for junior volunteers to take around.
As with any 1-1 visit program, residents needing the visits should be clearly identified.  
The cart visits should be coordinated with their interests and plan of care.  The visits
should be documented, noting content of visit and resident response.  

Resources:
   *Activities Assistance has a page devoted to the Cart approach.
http://activitiesassist.com/onetwoone.aspx
   *Developing an Individualized Visit Program Independent Study
http://www.dhspecialservices.com/visitindependentstudy.htm