Now that I know I'm not going against state regulations (see Dr. El goes undercover with the NYS Department of Health), I'll confess I love to use my iPhone with the residents. In nursing homes that don't yet have computer access, the iPhone and other Web-enabled mobile devices bring the world right to the residents. (For more on the subject, see Therapeutic use of the Internet in nursing homes.)
Courtesy of Apple
Here are some therapeutic interventions I've used during my psychology sessions. Please add your experiences in the comments section.
· When I arrived at the door of his room, Jim was sitting with his head in his hands. He looked up and I saw the worry in his eyes.
"What's up?" I asked him.
"I put all my stuff in storage before I got here, but now I can't remember the name of the place,” he said. “I'm worried I'm gonna lose my things."
Pulling out my iPhone, I Googled the storage center based on the general location and handed him the phone number. Relieved, he was able to discuss his other concerns.
When I ran into him later in the day, he had already phoned, made arrangements for his belongings, and was now smiling and relaxed.
· "My old doctor gave me different medication," Ms. Garcia told me. "I never had this problem before."
"Do you have your doctor's phone number? Maybe your old physician could talk to your doctor here," I said.
"I don't have the number. But I know her name."
After a quick search and a couple of phone calls, Ms. Garcia was on the phone with the MD she'd had for the last fifteen years. "Hey!!! How you doing?! Listen, can you call my doctor here and tell him about me?" Two days later, the MDs had conversed, the meds had been changed, and the problem was solved.
· Ana's usually energetic demeanor had faded and my attempts to engage her were met with glum, monosyllabic replies. I switched gears.
"Would you like to listen to music? We could play some of your native Romanian songs." She was unenthusiastic until my YouTube search came up with the Romanian Ballad of Ciprian Porumbescu. Her face lit up and she listened intently, eyes closed, appearing to drink in the music.