Letters of Appreciation – Parkwood

April 2017

It is hard to believe that Spring has Sprung upon us.  Everyone agreed that despite the rainy, windy weather outside, our room was filled with both the fragrance and colors of spring which shadowed the dreary day.  Once again, the Volunteers from the Garden Club did not disappoint us and offered many options of flowers and greenery for our individual arrangements., truly an appealing tactile experience.  We had a full room of participants with others waiting close by in case there was an opening to join in the fun.  Around the table of 15, sat three men who claimed they could not complete this task.  By far, you could see that they had a real eye for arrangements and completed beautiful centerpieces which they planned to surprise a roommate, staff member and wife (who is in Palliative Care).  We shared with one another the joy of flowers, light conversation, laughter, coffee and cookies.  We also had some fun singing Happy Birthday to a few patients.  All in all, another fabulous afternoon!  When I think about the program held on Tuesday April 4th, I smile as I remember all the conversations that occurred between patients and volunteers.  We are delighted to have the flowers, but just as excited to share meaningful conversation with others to break up a “sometimes lonely day”. 

Many thanks from the Patients and Staff of Parkwood Institute,

 Yours in Leisure,

Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Specialized Geriatric Services Parkwood Institute

 

March 2017

Please find below the letter to share with your members based on the experience from the March group.  Just to let you know that I did not write this paragraph this time as I participant of the group offered to write a letter based on her experience.  This letter is in her words.

“I would like to extend a sincere and warm thank you to the volunteers from the Garden Club of London.  On a very dull and drizzly day as an inpatient of 5AE at Parkwood Institute I was lucky enough to get invited to partake in an afternoon activity sponsored by your organization.  I was delighted to learn we would be doing some St. Patrick’s Day Centerpieces for our rooms at absolutely no cost.  We were given small decorated containers with wet oasis and mums, carnations, and assorted greenery to create our masterpieces.  A good time was had by all who participated, both men and women, a very full room filled with chit chat and laughter.

Again, on behalf of all the patients who participated, thank you for making our hospital stay less tedious and adding SUNNY smiles to an otherwise dull day. We look forward to seeing you in April, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all the participants from Parkwood Institute”.

Kim de Nijs,   HBHK, HTRS, Reg

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

 

January 2017

WOW! What a great way to start the New Year was a common statement made by many of the patients that attended the Garden Club Visit on January 3rd, 2017.  The room was peaceful as the patients enjoyed the company of others while creatively and thoughtfully putting their arrangements together.  Standing from a far, you could easily observe how therapeutic this activity was for the patients.  One patient who struggles with arthritis was so pleased that she finally had used her hands for something enjoyable.  Another patient beamed from ear to ear as she had been feeling blue from being hospitalized over the Christmas holidays.  To end off the afternoon, we had an interesting discussion about each item used in the arrangement.  Following this conversation, a patient mentioned to me how nice it was to reminisce about the things she once used to grow around her own home.  All, in all, a great afternoon was shared by all.  We open our arms and extend a great BIG HUG to the volunteers from the Garden Club of London who made our afternoon so PERFECT! 

Yours in Leisure,

Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
St. Joseph’s Healthcare London
Parkwood Institute
Specialized Geriatric Services

December 2016

For many of the patients in Specialized Geriatrics, Christmas is traditionally known for lavish gatherings, gift giving and spending time with family and friends.  However, for those who are not well enough to leave the hospital over the holidays, the festive season can be an especially difficult time of year.  Each and every month, we are truly thankful for the continued dedication of the Volunteers of the Garden Club for taking time out of their busy, and hectic schedules to spend an afternoon with us here at Parkwood.  The volunteers were more than helpful in spreading Christmas cheer with a room full of chatter, smiles and laughter by all those involved.  Another packed house, with no room to spare and patients being turned away at the door…..all great examples of how meaningful this opportunity is for all those involved.  A patient shared that she has been feeling blue, in various hospitals since June,  and likely in the hospital through to the New Year.  She mentioned floral arrangements was a leisure hobby, and being able to tinker and play with freshly cut greens and flowers made her day!  Another lasting memory was observing a patient work with her 12 year old daughter on an arrangement which was often a tradition completed at home.  All in all, there were so many magical moments experienced within the group.  Thank you so much for the surprise chocolates, truly a great treat

From the many patients from Parkwood, family members and staff, we Wish you a Fantastic Holiday Season!

Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
St. Joseph’s Healthcare London
Parkwood Institute
Specialized Geriatric Services

November 2016

As I was taking a patient back to their room, they wanted me to read a clip from a book they were reading at their bedside.  It read “flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful:  they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul” written by L. Burbank.  This quote resembles the entire group experience this month. 

So many of the patients were very hesitant to attend the group this month because they were shy, identified they were not a group person, distracted by personal thoughts, in pain, fatigued and emotional to name a few barriers.  All the patients enjoyed themselves and were pleased with their individual arrangements they personally made.  They were passionate about their projects and verbalized on more than one occasion that they were so pleased they decided to attend the group.  These are the moments that make me smile. 

This month’s group was a huge success in my eyes as we provided patients with a new opportunity that was pleasurable and therapeutic.  We were able to offer them a break from the many personal worries they are currently facing. 

I would like to extend a huge hug to each of the volunteers from the Garden Club of London for your continued dedication to the Parkwood project.  Looking forward to your visit again in December.

Yours in Leisure,
 Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
St. Joseph’s Healthcare London
Parkwood Institute
Specialized Geriatric Services

October 2016

It is hard to believe we are already in October.  So many of the patients identified October as their favorite month – the true heart of autumn!  We enjoyed the company of others and arranged a variety of mums and fall foliage in miniature pumpkins.   Truly, the creations were stunning, bright with color to catch the eye, with a small scent of the outdoors to lift our spirits. 
     As October is a month to give thanks, we continue to be very thankful of the delightful volunteers from the Garden Club.  We were blessed with 4 fantastic volunteers this month who were willing to work with us and share the joy and expertise of flowers.
 
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Halloween from the Patients and Staff at Parkwood Institute!
Yours in Leisure,
Kim de Nijs
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

September 2016

Hi All,

Well it is hard to believe that the summer months have passed and we are in the month of September again.  September brings us great joy at the hospital as the many great volunteers from The Garden Club of London return to visit and work with us again.  Our group this month was filled with both male and female participants of all ages from both the Specialized Geriatric Program and Complex Care units.  As a group, we enjoyed the demonstration and discussion surrounding our centerpiece.  When it was time to create, each patient dove in with excitement and individually arranged a unique piece.  In particular, we are very proud of the gentleman who insisted to all the group members, volunteers and staff that he was not capable of completing the project primarily because he was male.  This afternoon experience with The Garden Club provided this male patient an opportunity to trial a new leisure skill and break the +50 years of belief that he did not have a “green thumb”.  I had great joy listening to him tell the staff on the unit and the others he passed in the hallway that he made this himself!  Thank you again for your continued support to the Patients at Parkwood Institute.  We look forward to your visit in October. 
 
Yours in Leisure,

Kim de Nijs

 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

 

June 2016

Hi All,

 Wow!  What a way to celebrate Canada Day and the beginning of our summer months.  To no surprise, the room was packed to capacity, with eager hands awaiting to create their masterpieces.  Around the table, a lot of stories were shared as we reminisced about the many perennials and annuals we each would plant in our own gardens around this time of year….favorite colors, scents and varieties.  Each and every month there is a patient that pulls on my heart strings.  As I sat with a participant, she privately shared her story and the joy she received over 15 years of making floral arrangements as a volunteer for palliative care.  Participating in this group today, inspired her to reconsider volunteering when she was medically stable and discharged home.  We will miss the volunteers of The Garden Club over the summer months and only wish you sunshine, health and happiness until we meet again.
 
Many, many thanks from the Patients of the Specialized Geriatrics of Parkwood Institute.
Yours in Leisure,
Kim de Nijs”
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

 

MAY 2016

Well, what a great way to Celebrate Mother’s Day!  The color choice of carnations surrounded by the many fillers fresh from the gardens of the volunteers created a beautiful centerpiece for their bedside tables.  The group this month was smaller than usual as we experienced a bit of a hiccup part way through the program when an outbreak was declared on the unit.  Luckily, ten healthy patients enjoyed the company and expertise from the Garden Club Members who worked side by side with the patients on their projects and shared personable interactions.  A lasting memory from this month was the conversation I had with a male patient following the group.  He was so appreciative for the experience and opportunity to participate with the plan to give his floral arrangement to his wife as a gift on Mother’s Day.  Once again, we thank you for your continued commitment to the patients of the Specialized Geriatric Program.
We look forward to your visit in June,
Kim de Nijs
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

 

 

April 2016

Well another great visit from the Garden Club. 

 
With all the snow on the ground in the last few days, it is hard to believe that Spring has Sprung upon us.  Everyone agreed that despite the frigid cold temperatures outside, our room was filled with both the fragrance and colors of spring.  Once again, the Volunteers from the Garden Club did not disappoint us and offered many options of flowers and greenery for our individual arrangements.  We had a full room of participants with others waiting close by in case there was an opening to join in the fun.  We shared with one another the joy of flowers, light conversation and laughter.  We also had some fun singing Happy Birthday to a Volunteer and a few patients along with playing Floral trivia within our group.  All in all, another fabulous afternoon! 
Many thanks from the Patients and Staff of Parkwood Institute,
Yours in Leisure,
Kim de Nijs
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

March 2016

Despite the many warnings of “stormagedon”, four fantastic volunteers arrived at Parkwood Institute to offer the patients of Specialized Geriatrics and Transitional Care an afternoon of creativity and fun in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  There was no extra room to be found with onlookers from the outside windows.  I always like to reflect with the participants on their experience and overall thoughts from the afternoon.  To summarize, their was so much JOY from the individuals involved.  The arrangements were bright and refreshing.  The only gentleman of the group was eager for his wife to visit as his plan was to surprise her with an early anniversary gift.  Once again, thank you on behalf of the patients and staff of Parkwood Institute for your ongoing support and dedication to such a valuable afternoon.
 
Your in Leisure,
Kim de Nijs 
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

 

February 2016

Another great group of volunteers and patients this month.  Here is a little message for your website.
 
This was the first February in awhile that we have been lucky to enjoy a visit from the Garden Club of London.  The past few years, our patients have been under the weather and we were not permitted to have outside visitors on the unit secondary to outbreak situations. 
   At last, on the Day Willie saw his shadow, we were also excited to meet with our friends once again from the Garden Club.  Many thanks to the volunteers who worked diligently with our patients to create beautiful arrangements.  It was a unique group of 12 this month with a few patients verbalizing hesitation to participate in a group setting.  A few other patients were concerned that they were not naturally creative and worried that they would be unsuccessful.   The volunteers who attended were quick to put the patient concerns at ease, providing them one to one support with hand over hand instruction and kind words of encouragement.  It is days like this that I celebrate as we make gains with the patients we work with in a fun and social environment.  The question of the day was…..when do they come back?  As you will see from the pictures, the visit was a GREAT SUCCESS!!
 
Happy Valentines Day and many thanks,
Kim de Nijs
 
Kim de Nijs, HBHK, HTRS, Reg
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Specialized Geriatric Services
Parkwood Institute

 

January 2016

Happy New Year!  Well it seems like Christmas has come and gone and we start to think about our wishes for 2016.  Already, many patients are excited for spring and the arrival of new flowers to both the outdoor garden areas and wooded areas around Parkwood.  Today’s visit from the Garden Club fit nicely with our wishes as many of the items used were a result of Audrey and her husband hiking in the forested areas and bringing them in to us to share and admire in our arrangements.

Once again, the room was filled with both male and female patients enjoying the company of others and sharing a common bond………the joy of working with flowers.  We cannot thank you enough for your continued dedication to our Patients at Parkwood.  We look forward to another GREAT year with the many Fabulous Volunteers that visit us each month.

Yours in Leisure,

Kim de Nijs, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Specialized Geriatric Services, Parkwood Institute

December 2015

“What a wonderful visit we had this month from the Garden Club.  Despite the fall like weather, the Volunteers brought the Xmas season to us at Parkwood.  The smell of the evergreens filled the room along with the laughter and chatter that lingered in the halls.  The room was packed with 15 patients, both male and female.  Many others who were passing by would stop in to observe the creativity of each patient project and comment on the creation of each beautiful masterpiece.  December is a difficult time as patients long to be home with family to celebrate the Xmas season.  I would personally like to extend a special thanks to the December volunteers for providing such a welcoming and cheerful environment for our patients.  We would also like to thank the Garden Club of London for the Christmas decorations that were donated to us…..very stunning indeed!”

Yours in Leisure,

Kim de Nijs, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Specialized Geriatric Services, Parkwood Institute

October 2015 

“The garden club came in October and were very flexible and accommodating.   They rolled with the punches when we had to change units.   They were so helpful and kind with the patients while I was gathering more to join our group.    The pumpkin arrangements were so lovely and the patients had such a great time making them.  The ladies that came to the group were interactive and engaging with the patients.  It’s always such a pleasure to see the patients interacting with new people in a natural and non threatening environment.    Many thanks to the garden club for continuing to come to Parkwood Institute and sharing their gardening talents with us.   

Cindy Draper

Therapeutic Recreation Assistant
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