Activity In-services for Non-activity Staff

With the changes in our industry and regulations, it is even more
important to become a leader in our communities.  One way to do
this is to share your expertise and knowledge with others.  We can
do this by offering to in-service all staff on how to do small group and
one-on-one programs. Here are a few in-services that will get you started.

Why I do It
        This program is designed to remind staff why they chose their profession and why
they continue to do what they do.  It’s a good place to start.
        Items Needed:
o        Colored Paper, cut length ways, in half
o        Colored Markers
o        Guided Imagery Prayer (This is the one we use, it can be modified to fit your home
and your residents)


I’m going to ask you to close your eyes now for a few minutes, and to rest your hands in
your lap with your palms up…  Tune in to your breathing and relax your tension points…

In the darkness and quietness of your mind, become aware of the air at your fingertips,
between your fingers, on the palms of your hands…  Experience the fullness, strength
and maturity of your hands…  Think about your hands.  Think of the most unforgettable
hands they have known—the hands of your father, your mother…  Think of the hands of
a newborn baby, of the incredible beauty, perfection, delicacy in the hands of a child…  
Once upon a time, your hands were the same size…  just as delicate.  Now remember
the oldest hands that have rested in yours.  Think of the hands of a favorite resident…  
Someday, your hands will be like theirs…  just as delicate.

Think of all that your hands have done and the many activities they have mastered—the
things they have made…  

Our hands are not just for ourselves, but also for others.  Think how often your hands
were given in help for another…  Remember all the kinds of work they have done,
Remember all the tears they have wiped away—and the healing they have fostered...  

Think how often they have been folded in prayer …  Think how our fathers and mothers
taught us the great symbolic language of our hands—the sign of the cross, the pat on
the back during a hug, the handshake, and the wave of the hand in a friendly “hello” or

There is a mystery, which we discover in the hands of the one we love.  And there are
the hands of a doctor, a nurse, an artist, a conductor, a minister—hands that we can
never forget.
Now, with your eyes still closed, slowly raise your right hand and gently place it over
your heart…  Press more firmly until your hand picks up the beat of your own heart—
Press even more firmly for a moment, then release your hand, and slowly lower it back
to your lap very carefully, as if it were carrying your heart.  FOR IT DOES… When you
extend your hand to another, it is not just bones and skin—it is your heart.  A
handshake, you now know, is the real heart transplant.

Think now of all the hands which have left their imprint on you…  Fingerprints and
handprints are the heart prints that can never be erased.  The hand has its own
memory…  Think of all the places that carry handprints.   They are indelible and will last

Now, without opening your eyes, extend your hands on either side and find the hand of
the person next to you.  Do not simply hold it, but convey a message of peace,
friendship, and genuine concern…  Let your hand speak to it and let it listen to the
other.  Express your gratitude for this hand stretched to you in the darkness, and then
bring your hand back to your lap.  Experience the presence of that other hand lingering
upon yours…  The afterglow will fade, but the print is there forever…

Whose hand was that?  It could be any hand—it could have been the very hand of the
Creator,  FOR IT WAS!  For, on earth, HE has no other hands but ours.  I invite you to
see yourselves as our co-ministers, to see your hands as God’s hands.                      
Author unknown
Set Up
        Start with the group standing in a circle
        After the Prayer have tables available
        Leading the Program
        Have participants stand in a circle
        Read the Prayer
        Discuss how people react to the participants when they tell others they work in a
Nursing Home……..
        Give them examples of Positive responses  and Negative comments……
        Hand each person three colored strips and a marker
        Have them think of three residents, and why they enjoy working with them
o        Example:  I do it for Hazel because I love to see her smile…

Talk Behind Their Back
        Every department depends on the other and there are many ways  we can help
each other. This in-service can help them realize how important each department is to
the other, and how simple communication can lead to teamwork.
        As participants come in, tape, staple or pin a piece of paper to their backs.
        Hand  out pencils (they  won’t soak through the paper onto the participants’
        When everyone is settled, have the participants get up and instruct them to choose
someone and write a POSITIVE statement about that person and what they do that
impacts the writer. Continue until they have written on all the participants’ backs.
        Learning Circle
        Discuss how it felt to read the positive comments…
        Explain how negative comments spread and inhibit working together.
        Discuss how each department can help or hinder the care given to residents
        Have participants offer ideas about things THEY can do to help another

Direct-Care Staff Activity Ideas
ADL Activities
Staff can,  and do, many “activities” with the residents while helping them with ADL’s
This in-service gives examples of things they can do while assisting with each daily
task.  It can be done in a formal classroom or at shift change near the nurses’ station.
Some of these were adapted from “The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care” by
David Troxel and Virginia Bell.

        Music: play enjoyable music and sing songs about food: *Food Glorious Food  
*Animal Crackers *Bread and Butter
o        Reminisce about Food Commercials, slogans and songs:  Green Giant, Tony the
Tiger, Nothin’ says  lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven
        Sensory: Discuss the color, texture, smell and taste of the food
         Ask if they would like to say a prayer before the meal.
        Conversation: share common food preferences, ask about favorite recipes,

        Songs: Alice Blue Gown, Button up Your Overcoat, Blue Suede Shoes.
        Reminisce about styles & fads
        Start an old saying and have the residents finish the saying. Clothes make the
man, a stitch in time saves nine, …
        Sensory: rub the resident’s back while helping them with a shirt or blouse, give
them a foot rub while putting on socks and shoes
        Ask questions about their favorite color to wear, what style they like best, do they
like accessories?

        Refer to this time as “Freshening up” or “Washing Up”  (keep it light)
        Music:  Play soft music or sing silly bath songs: Singing In the Bathtub, Wash That
Man Right Out of My Hair
        Reminisce about old sayings: clean as a whistle, cleanliness is next to godliness
        Sensory: use scented soaps and lotions, warmed towels.

        Shaving
        Ask if they ever went to a barber for a shave.
        Sing the song “Shave and a Haircut Two Bits”
        Reminisce about old sayings “close shave”  Burma shave signs,
        Sensory:  warm water, towel, smelly lotion or after shave

        Don’t forget to than. and praise the staff for doing these type of things.  
Remember, for the most part, this is still new to them. Here are some ideas to say
thank you.
o        Kudos candy bar for everyone who clocks in on time
o        Air Head (for not being an Air head and remembering their name tag)
o        Thank You Cards mailed to their home makes a big impression
o        Surprise shifts with a lunch or breakfast
o        Send birthday and anniversary cards to their homes. Add a Lottery ticket
If you would like more information or have a question you can contact us at  We’re here to help.
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