My PRN toolkit…for the SNF and Home Health

I work for a company that has more than 5 facilities that I serve in my immediate area. At this point, I have become familiar with each of their therapy rooms, activity rooms, etc. If I have a question, I am familiar enough to a handful of staff members, to locate something I need.
This hasn’t always been the case though. When I was doing home health and SNF therapy PRN, before the days of portable technology, apps, and iPads, I had a rather sizable bag that I would carry with me that had anything I needed to treat patients on the fly!
This bag contained most of these things all the time…unless I lost/left an item somewhere! I decided to go through my bag this weekend and get it organized. I was surprised at some of the things that had collected in this bottomless pit!

Items: Tongue Depressors, Straws, Lemon Glycerin Swabs, Dum Dums.

Used for: Oral motor exercises for dysarthria or dysphagia

Items: Straws, Pinwheels, cotton balls, washi tape and a few copies of my patient education handouts on conserving energy at mealtime.

Used for: Breath support exercises, sustaining and controlling exhalation, teaching pursed lip breathing, patient education.

Items: A deck of bicycle playing cards and a deck of UNO cards

Used for: Cognition-Sequencing, Sorting, attention to task, problem solving

Item: Basic Photo Memory Cards (this is my favorite set)

Used for: Cognition-memory of three photos, concentration/memory game, categorization, telling relationships between two items, attention to task
Expressive Language-Naming, Giving description or attributes of item pictured
Receptive Language-Identifying named photo or described photo

Item: Blank copies of Peg Patterns and markers, post it tags for visual cueing

Used for: Cognition-attention to task, problem solving, multi level sequencing.
I like to let the patients make their own pattern and leave them in the therapy room for the patient to show their weekly therapist what they have done over the weekend.
Item: A seasonal everyday magazine like Women’s Day or Good Housekeeping
Used for: facilitating conversation with dementia patients, naming, reading comprehension.

Item: Large print word search

Used for: Memory (take away the word list and only give two or three words at a time), visual problem solving, following directions (give directional cues as to where the word is located in the puzzle when they can’t find it easily), attention to task.

Item: Small dry erase board and marker (I like the kind that has the eraser on the end), index cards and binder clips.

Used for: Augmentative Communication, answering yes/no questions for non-verbal patients, written cues for following one step or multi step directions or memory of directions over several minutes pertaining to a therapeutic task, and a good, old fashioned game of tic tac toe or hangman!

Item: my iPad

Used for: SO many uses! I open THESE peg board patterns in iBooks. I use it to take pictures such as THESE for a quick working memory task. I have a few favorite apps such as THESE.
After cleaning out and organizing, I realized that I had a lot of good stuff in there that I couldn’t stand to part with…just yet. After all, you MUST carry your own purple mouse everywhere you go, right?!? …priorities people!
What do YOU carry in your bag? Comment below…


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