Lynn Foulke has brought support, love, comfort and encouragement to her therapeutic recreation patients for 41 years.
The Therapeutic Recreation department at Bacharach offers patients the opportunity to find or rediscover a hobby that they love.
Patients recovering from a stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation and other conditions participate in therapeutic recreation to re-learn leisure activities, sometimes using adapted devices.
Lynn Foulke, the therapeutic recreation coordinator, has worked at Bacharach for almost 41 years. She has a knack for finding out what people like to do and helping them develop or adapt a leisure interest or hobby whether it is reading, card games, wood working or fishing. “I don’t force anybody into recreation, I want them to be here because they want to be,” said Lynn. “My job is to find out what they like to do, and help them accomplish that. I think the key is that I give my patients a choice in their workouts, I tell them what games I think would be beneficial and then they pick what they want.”
Aside from learning to use adapted devices, patients participate in other activities including music programs, wheelchair Zumba, yoga and pet therapy. Often at the end of a patient’s stay, Lynn takes them on a community outing of their choice. The outing allows patients to use the skills they have learned in physical and occupational therapy and perform those skills in a public setting. Patients practice accessing curb cuts and ramps, opening doors and maneuvering around people in a public facility.
“Sometimes just getting in the car and getting that fresh air helps tremendously,” said Lynn. “Many of my patients have been in the hospital for a long time, so getting out of that environment is important. It is also an opportunity to involve their families, helping them to learn how to assist their loved one after discharge.”
Lynn refers to therapeutic recreation as a “sneaky” kind of therapy. Even the patients that just stop by for a visit and don’t want to play games benefit by socializing in a group setting. “I have worked here for many years and I am still excited to come to work each day,” said Lynn. “I love what I do. It’s a very rewarding job. I have great co-workers and we all work together to get the patient to have better quality of life.”
Lynn has spread her love of helping people to both her daughter and her granddaughter, who spent a lot of time volunteering and working in Lynn’s department. Her daughter is a nurse and her granddaughter is studying to be one as well.