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Supporting Each Patient’s Choices and Rights

By Sarah Scott, DOR, Draper Rehabilitation & Care, Draper, Utah

Draper Rehab is a place where the patients are supported to the best of their ability to participate in activities which are meaningful and important to them. This is not always easy and as a team the IDT works together to identify if a way exists to safely support each patient’s choices and rights.

This was evident on a beautiful late Spring Day. Paula has been attending church services held at Draper Rehab each Sunday. The congregation which meets here is an extension of a larger congregation in the community. Church members coordinate with our Recreational Therapy department to hold scripture classes during the week where members from the community come and teach weekly lessons. This allows our residents to participate in activities consistent with those from earlier periods of their lives.

Paula attended religion classes and church services and determined that she wanted to be baptized. “I went to church with my friends as a young woman and loved it. I always wanted to be baptized but didn’t get around to it.” To be baptized into the church Paula chose, she needed to be “baptized by emersion” meaning she needed to be fully submerged in water for the baptism. Despite the inherent challenges with this, Paula was determined and asked several staff members to help her.

One of Paula’s supporters is Corina, a PTA in therapy. Corina grew up an orphan in Romania. She attributes this fact to her passionate support of freedoms, religious and otherwise, of all. The church contacted the owner of a home located 2 houses down from Draper Rehab, and the homeowner agreed to the use of his pool for the baptism. On her own time, Corina scouted the location, prepared Paula, and trained those who would support Paula during her baptism. Corina came in on Saturday, donating her time, to facilitate the event. Draper’s DOR Sarah was MOD that day, and accompanied three of Paula’s friends, fellow residents, to attend the baptism to ensure safe navigation of the route. Paula’s friend and fellow resident said, “We would not have missed this for the world!”

Afterwards, Paula wore a new denim dress, purchased by Corina for her friend Paula, to a pizza party coordinated by Recreational Therapy Manager Whitney. Paula beamed as the group enjoyed pizza, chatted about the day’s events, and shared pictures of the baptism with those friends unable to attend. It was a celebration.

The route included two doorways, four gates, 200 yards of uneven sidewalk, and 100 feet of grass. It was a memorable adventure that was accomplished with safety due to community and facility collaboration.

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