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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Nursing Homes -- Two Very Different Experiences

So, I actually got up my gumption to make appointments to take Kona out on Therapy Dog visits.  The first place I contacted wanted me to bring Kona in for an "interview".

I tell you, this was like a job interview. I had to fill out an application that was several pages long and included strange questions such as What is your favorite movie? and If money and time were unlimited, where would you go on a dream vacation and what would you do?  It felt like they were trying to get a psychological profile on me.  Then I had to provide two references, plus sign off on a criminal background check.  Oh-kay.

I mean, I'm just a volunteer with a therapy dog.

After our interview, which I guess I passed, I had to go to a 2 hour long "volunteer orientation". This included a tour of the facility and I was also given a "volunteer handbook" and a list of rules and regulations as well as a "dress code". We were also shown the procedure to "check in" at the front desk, and then, again, at the volunteer station where we clock our hours.

Then we were told we  had to have a TB screening test!


I took the TB test thing yesterday, and have to return on Wednesday for the "all clear" and then I have to set up a time with the volunteer coordinator to do the first visit with her at my side showing me the ropes.

It seems like a lot of hoops to jump through just bring Kona in for visits. But, as Bob would say, "oh well."

The second nursing home, I called on Saturday.  I had gotten a newsletter from Project PUP which stated that this particular place did not have a single therapy dog coming to see them and they desperately wanted one. Since it's not too far away, I gave them call and talked with that volunteer coordinator to set up a time to come in -- which was yesterday.

Yesterday, I arrived with Kona, met the volunteer coordinator in the lobby. She took me straight to the dining room where several residents were drinking coffee, playing games, etc. and left me there to "do my thing"!  No paperwork to fill out, no introductions, just jump in with both feet!

The one thing I found out about Kona is that although she is well behaved and everyone loved her, she tends to keep her eyes on me at all times and did not seem very interested in the residents.

Maybe this will change with time...

I have scheduled to go back to nursing home #2 on Saturday mornings.  We'll see what happens....


Barb Polan said...

Sometimes helping is just so much harder than it should be. BTW, don't take the tine test too seriously - in my state, it's required to volunteer in schools or anywhere else kids are.

When I was in rehab, I was dying to have the ONE therapy dog visit - she was a chocolate cockapoo named Barley, but it turned out it was easier for ME to visit HER in the recreation room. One of the requirements for Barley to do her job was being able to go 8 hours without having to pee. As you found out, some places ask a lot from their volunteers.

Have fun! I'll bet you have a blast taking Kona to visit #2.

Linda said...

I am so glad you are going to be a visiting team! It means to much to so many people.

I think every personal care home here would have you go through most of the same hoops as place number 1. I like the fact that they are doing so much to assure the safety of their residents. For sure we would ask for you and criminal record check as well as abuse registry checks and then take the time to have you orientated to the place and then have you sign a paper that contracts you to honor government health information privacy laws. We want to see current vaccination records on the dog and we set up a file for the dog saying he is safe to come in to visit.
We love it when the dogs are certified as therapy dogs.The dog gets a scarf or vest to wear and a name tag for the handler. This is like an open invitation for the dog to be our visitor!

There are so many things that can go wrong with unscreened visiting dogs- not all are as nice and healthy as Kona, an not all visitor and nice and compassionate as you!