Great River Friends donates $22,890 to Great River Health System

Great River Friends donated $22,890.80 to Great River Health System at its annual recognition event this month. The money will be used to fund 12 projects, including four at Great River Klein Center, a long-term and skilled nursing facility on the health system’s West Burlington Campus.

All projects will enhance patient and elder experiences. One will improve staff skills, too. Virtual Dementia Tour is a 20-minute simulation of living with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The tour will provide us with a proven method of training to build sensitivity and awareness in people who care for elders with dementia,” said Ann Abolt, Klein Center administrator. “It will be mandatory training for all of our staff. Then we would like to offer it to our volunteers and family members.”

Abolt has experienced the tour. She said it will be enlightening for staff, and it will make them better caregivers.

“From the goggles that are colored to mimic macular degeneration and cataracts to the spikes in your shoes to mimic neuropathy to the noise in the headphones that keeps you from understanding what people are saying, it was very frustrating,” Abolt said. “It was the longest 20 minutes. I didn’t feel confident that I knew what I was doing so I just wandered around. It gave me a totally different perspective.”

The Klein Center also received a gift to create personalized digital music programs for people with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that affect brain chemistry. Besides providing enjoyment, personalized music can help improve elder’s attention, cooperation and socialization. It also can help reduce resistance to care and reliance on antipsychotic medications.

Other gifts are:

  • Artscapes-Art As Therapy projects for Klein Center residents and Great River Hospice patients
  • Books and activities for Pediatrics Unit patients
  • Breast milk from Mothers Milk Bank of Iowa for newborns in the Obstetrics Unit
  • Interactive, lifelike dementia therapy pets for the Klein Center
  • Large, reusable ice packs for orthopedic-surgery patients in the Medical-Surgical Unit
  • Local recreation area maps for health improvement
  • Swaddling sleepers for newborns in the Obstetrics Unit
  • Two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant picnic tables, two benches and trash receptacles for a shelter house to be built this spring along the health system lake. Money for the structure was donated by Great River Friends last year.
  • Two bariatric examination room chairs for Radiation Oncology-Great River Medical Center

Great River Friends is a community of donors and volunteers that supports Great River Health System with the gifts of time, talent and treasure. For more information, please call Volunteer Services at 319-768-3340.