You can’t spell ‘functional’ without ‘fun’. This is particularly true in Dr. Natalia McIlveen’s way of thinking. The director of the therapy program at The Springs Healthcare Center at Monarch Landing, works hard to make sure that rehabilitation guests don’t have to feel like they are. “When people come here to recover from surgery or an illness or injury, I try to think of fun things to do to incorporate functional movements and daily tasks that they’ll need to be able to do when they go home,” she said. “We try to picture what it looks like for someone going home and what they might struggle with. And we work on that, while still making things fun. When I meet with a new rehabilitation guest, I ask ‘what would you like to see yourself be able to do, and what do you struggle with now? Walking to the bathroom, bathing? What are things you want to go back to being able to do? Ride a bike? Go bowling?’ If we can do something to make it happen while you’re here, we’re going to do that.'”
The Springs at Monarch Landing boasts a world-class physical, occupational and speech therapy program with state-of-the-art equipment. However, Natalia’s team loves to integrate fun with work. Recently, two of the rehabilitation guests told her that they wanted to bake. “They had fun baking chocolate chip cookies. The man said, ‘If only my wife was here now to see this!’ The next day he did laundry. He said, ‘You girls are going to be my wife’s best friend.'”
Other fun activities that the team has arranged for rehab guests have included going to hit golf balls at TopGolf.
“We always have our eyes peeled for innovative ways to achieve our guests’ goals. I always interview new guests when they come in for rehabilitation, and if there’s something special they want to be able to do, we do what we can do give it a try,” said Natalia.
Read in the Chicago Tribune