We all love stories, and we all love our own stories even more. In an effort to better residents’ engagement and enjoyment of everyday life at Whittier Hills, Abilities Care® ideas were adapted to improve residents’ ability to engage in daily tasks. One of the projects involves the use of a Life Story Board.

The Life Story Board is designed to involve skilled services, improve Nursing-Rehab communication and expand from residents’ past experiences to current opportunities for care and daily task engagement.

The Life Story Way
Residents’ past life experiences, family members, and interesting memories were re-discovered with therapists using strategies such as reminiscing, recalling, organizing and active engagement with family members. Through the engagement, therapists also administer Allen Cognitive Level Scale and analyze a patient’s functional performances as well as ability to swallow. IDT will follow up based on findings.

How Stories Are Told
As residents progress through therapy sessions, therapists find and organize information and arrange them on a board. Pertinent skilled information is organized into simple codes.
A resident’s detailed Allen Cognitive Level Scale information is posted at the back of the Life Story Board to indicate in detail the level of expected performance, ability and different strategies that will work well with the resident.

Skilled Coded Information
The circle is for swallowing ability and has both a letter and color coding:

  • Green circle: thin liquid
  • Yellow circle: nectar thick
  • Red circle: honey thick
  • Blue triangle: number indicates Allen Cognitive Score
    • Triangle pointing up is the higher score within the number such as 3.5+
    • Triangle pointing down is 3.5-
  • Orange square: indicating assist level
    • E: extensive assist
    • L: limited assist
    • S: stand by assist

Education and in-services will be provided to understand how to utilize the Life Story Board. The goal is to improve every team member’s ability to know our residents, know what may interest them, and understand how to design tasks and activities that would interest them to improve engagement.

All team members would also have a quick understanding of the resident’s performance information, and this will promote proper care such as providing the right food texture or liquid consistencies. The information will also help to track changes in physical performance that can be relayed to the rehab department, ensuring that any change in condition is addressed as soon as possible.

View poster: Life Story Project (PDF format)

Mark Kao, OTR, DOR