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home : news : news Tuesday, May 24, 2016

12/14/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
hese are a few of his favorite things. Westwing resident Carroll Flathers holds a “Snapshot” made for him by sisters and CNAs (from left) Beth and Paige Kruse. The Snapshots are scrapbook pages that include a picture and a glimpse into a resident’s life and interests. The girls have made over 100 of them to date, and are going to continue creating them so every Westwing resident has one to hang on his or her wall. Photo by Kate Howes
Westwing CNAs create precious keepsakes with 'Snapshots'

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

The 9x12 framed piece of paper that hangs on Westwing resident Carroll Flathers' wall provides just a few fun facts about his life - he loves summertime, being outside, going on road trips, hunting rabbits and always wanted to be a farmer since he was a little boy.

This single page is a memento he cherishes, particularly because the very people who have taken such good care of him since he arrived at the facility created it.

"I love it," he says earnestly. "I think it's wonderful."

For the past three and a half years, sisters and Westwing CNAs Beth and Paige Kruse have been responsible for making the majority of what are called "Snapshots," that give people glimpses into residents' lives and allow staff to truly connect with them on a more personal level.

Mary Kucera, RN-BC CNIII, says the Snapshots concept is part of the Eden Philosophy that Westwing employees have been implementing for the past several years.

It's a philosophy, Kucera says, that makes for a patient and kind staff and a warm, loving environment in which residents can live and thrive.

"I've been in nursing homes all over Iowa," she relates. "(Snapshots) is very unique to us here at Westwing. It was our Eden committee's idea to do this and in a little over three years, we've done over 100 of them. They're scrapbook pages that help us find out what residents' lives have been like and they absolutely love them."

Kucera says most of the Snapshots have been put together by the Kruse sisters, who say although it takes a lot of work to design a page befitting each resident, the reactions they get make it all worthwhile.

"We've had residents cry," Paige relates. "It's the most rewarding thing."

"We had one resident who always is grumpy," Beth adds. "When he saw his (Snapshot), he just lit up. It was really neat to see that."

Beth and Paige say making the Snapshots is an on-going process, as they want each and every resident to have one.

By gleaning information provided by Melodie Schutt, Westwing's director of activity and volunteer services, and residents' family members, the girls pick and choose from past and current interests and memories they want to incorporate onto each resident's page.

They also include a photo and decorate the snapshots with colorful stickers and other scrapbook supplies to reflect residents' favorite pastimes.

"This gives staff something to look at and reminds them the person they're caring for has had a wonderful life and hobbies," Kucera explains. "It also allows employees simply to get to know residents better and gives them something they can visit about with residents."

The Kruse sisters say they like to include little personal facts people may not already know.

The Snapshots are definite conversation starters and for the residents they are a valued keepsake they treasure.

Flathers appreciates having his Snapshot and feels honored Beth and Paige made the effort to find out more about his life.

"I love these girls," he says. "I love all the people here. They're always here when I need them."

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