Meeting Residents’ Needs Through
Small Group Programming
By Myrtle Klauer, ADC, CAP

Small group programming encourages the residents’
participation; provides individualized attention from the group leader;
increases socialization among the participants; and encourages the
residents’ success through adaptation. By limiting the size of the group, the
leader can focus on the participants’ abilities and individualize the activity to
meet the residents' current needs.

Residents at all levels of ability enjoy small group programming. Small
groups are more intimate and provide opportunities for each member of the
group to contribute; behavioral issues are more easily addressed and
controlled; the residents' progress is easier to document; and the leader
has more control over the context and flow of the activity.

Examples of small group programs include:
•        discussion groups
•        current events
•        creative arts
•        book review
•        service projects
•        cooking
•        active games
•        board games
•        card games
•        trivia
•        wheelchair exercises
•        Bible study
•        creative writing

Utilizing Assessment Information

The comprehensive resident assessment provides the basis for planning
and adapting small group programs to meet the current residents’ needs
and interests. Through the assessment process, each resident's abilities
and interests are identified.
To determine the residents who would benefit from participating in small
group programs, the activity professional should review the assessments
for residents on his or her assigned floor/unit. At the end of this article,
there is a sample of a Small Group Program Interest Form, to help you
categorize the residents' current leisure interests.
After the small group participants are identified, explore ways to adapt the
activities to promote success for the participants. These adaptations should
be based on the residents' current abilities.

Program Protocols

Once the general themes of the small groups are determined, a program
protocol should be written for each group, prior to implementing the activity.
By developing program protocols, any member of the staff, or a volunteer,
can execute the programs. Program protocols are a good tool for
developing individualized programming and helps insure program continuity
and success.
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