Mercy Health Love County - News

Swing Bed Patients Need Activities, Too

Posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


Teaching from the Book: Instructor Frances R. Seidl, RN (middle) teaches swing-bed activities to Stacy Smith and Chelsea Rich from her authoritative book on the subject.
Swing-bed patients of the hospital need activities, too, just as though they were receiving skilled nursing care in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility.
“Activities” means social, psychological, and recreational means for brightening the patients’ days while hospitalized.
Activities also build the patients’ capacity for resuming their normal life after discharge,
Swing-bed patients are “in-between” -- not as sick as acutely ill patients but not yet well enough to go home.
Their stays last a few days up to a few weeks.
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital, Clinic and EMS established “activity directors” to cover every shift on the skilled nursing floor.
The activity directors took four days of certification training in June from Frances Rogers Seidl, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing.
She co-wrote the profession’s book on swing-bed activities.
The training took place at the hospital and was coordinated by Southern Oklahoma Technology Center.
Nurses and other hospital and nursing home personnel from around the area attended.
“The hospital was a great host for the program,” Seidl said.
Nursing Director Marie Ross said an important additional purpose of a formal activities program is for the activity directors to share tips with family caregivers.
For various problems patients may have, there are specific goal-oriented activities.
For dementia patients,“Be careful about asking if they want to do something unless you are prepared to hear ‘No’,” Seidl taught, adding that the staff is bound by the patient’s answer.
A patient who refuses a bath, for example, may accept the initial idea to “soak this knee,” which can lead to the desired result.
She shared a packaged set of activities and tips for working with these vulnerable patients to gain compliance for bathing, feeding, increasing flexibility, and coping with the loss of memory and control.
“Dementia is the sixth leading cause of death,” she told the group. “It is oft-occurring and varies widely in terms of diagnosis, treatment, care, duration and intensity.”
“We help them with what they cannot do for themselves and to recall the person they were,” she said.
Seidl said dementia patients may enter care with “hair matted, not bathing, quit eating,” but regain esteem through directed activities by the time they leave.
For depressed patients the goals may be to increase the frequency of social interaction and self care and decrease incidences of crying, poor appetite, or sleeplessness.
Prescribed activities include discussion groups, art, music, and news; sharing feelings in small group settings; and activities that draw on the person’s interests or experiences, such as travels, hobbies and occupations, to re-motivate them toward interests in life.
Seidl is director of educational services for Great Plains Health Alliance in Phillipsburg, KS.
Her 30-year career in nursing has given her experience in obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics, general nursing, clinics, and teaching.
In her church in Wichita, she is a parish nurse, providing nursing services as a lay ministry.
In 1985, when Medicare first adopted swing-beds as a reimbursable service for hospitals, Seidl co-authored The Patient Activity Program in the Swing-Bed Hospital, a book still considered authoritative in the field.
Attending the training were Shawna Childers, Ginger Hartman, Latronda Lornes, and Lane Miller of Mercy Health/Love County; Stacy Smith of Integris Marshall County Hospital; Chelsea Rich of Mercy Hospital Healdton; Brandi Love and Randi Davis of Mercy Hospital Tishomingo; and Ashley Fortney of Lake Country Nursing Home.
Davis said an important tip she learned was not to correct or argue with dementia patients when they make irrational statements.
The cause, she said, often can be organic, such as a low oxygen level, that is temporary and will pass.