Friday, November 13, 2009

Today's Bunny Visit to the Nursing Home & some Lessons...w/photos

Hi there,
I am a little disappointed about the nursing home visit to be honest today. Although it wasn't bad, I felt it wasn't great. Nothing went wrong, it's just that it could have been better. In some ways this is a good lesson on arranging a great visit and a mediocre one. My husband arranged it and not me. I know more of what to ask for than what he does. It would have better to be doing visits than have a room full of people. Part of the issue was that the people there had some mild memory issues and attention span issues and would have done better in a small group or an individual basis. We spoke about the rabbits,but were asked the same questions repeatedly about them. We were filling a bigger gap of time with the same material compared to what you would get in an individual visit of shorter duration. I believe it would have been a better quality experience for the individuals if I were repeating the answers to the questions for a briefer period of time with no more than three people at a time. With the memory issues are very short attention spans, also. People fall asleep and it is difficult to keep people focused for long periods of time in these situations

I know this from having worked 16 years in the field and having much schooling in it. The people still enjoyed the rabbits, but I personally don't think as much as they could have. In more individual situations, I have had people sing to the rabbits and tell great stories. I have done this in situations where I worked and knew people and have also volunteered in situations where I didn't know a thing about the people being visited and have seen similar results.

Keeping the visit to a small group or individual also helps the rabbits feel less threatened. This is perhaps the same with all animals. Also, visiting individuals might reach out to people who aren't usually people persons or group-oriented. Also, you might find people can be sick or bed bound-not really able to leave the room and they miss out totally otherwise. Those are the people who benefit most. Generally, in the nursing homes, these are the people, who probably need the most interaction and attention, and are the people least likely to receive it.

If you want more ideas and thoughts about ways to help enhance a visit, check out my last post from yesterday.

I like using top loading carriers instead of side door ones. The rabbits won't feel cornered and afraid when there is a hand reaching in, especially out of the environment that they are used to.

I planned on bringing 2 bunnies, but we brought 3. The ones I planned on bringing were Cinnamon and Grumbellina (the one in my profile photo). Cinnamon will not be pictured because he was just rebellious on producing those Kodak moments. Someday I will produce a photo of him, but just not today. Also pictured is Woody, the eight year old dwarf bunny. Woody liked attention, but was not quite the show stealer as much as the lops. It seems, in general, there are no all-around favorites. It just seems to be what the flow of the day is.

It is good to ask the staff to guide you to people. They know the people and can also help if they know someone might be rough with an animal. There were no problems today and I've found that the rabbits usually know and react to ones they will be uncomfortable with due to rougher handling. That is one thing that has always amazed me!

It is funny that some people asked if they were cats, dogs or hamsters also. Perhaps because the older generation is not as familiar with lops as they would be the more traditional rabbit with ears that stand up. If it seems like a safe situation and the staff allow and if your rabbit is not really a wetter on the floor, it can be really entertaining for them to run around on the floor. It is good to not have the residents of the home in the area walking or wheeling about in their wheel chairs in the area because it may cause an accident. Rabbits are extremely quick.

Although I sound a bit disappointed in today's visit, I do believe the people liked it. The people didn't want us to leave and wanted us to return, which we probably will. We just need to set some guidelines that would help benefit us, the rabbits and those being visited to make it the fullest experience for all. I also think it is good to use "first times" somewhere as a baseline on which to start for growing in experience and learning-whether its the first time doing something or the first time in a different setting, etc. It was not a bad experience.

Thank you for joining me. I would love to have feedback from you about this posting or any others. I will look at it! I want this to be a nice place to visit and want your feedback.
Thanks for joining me,
Til next time.
Mary Ellen

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