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Direct Care Professional Makes Resident Dreams Come True

Direct Care Professionals Anna Lalande and Lindsey Schimpf pose for a photo with ACR Homes resident on a trip to Disney

The purpose of ACR Homes' internship program is to allow Direct Care Professionals the opportunity to make an even bigger impact in the lives of ACR Homes residents. Because the internship is customizable, interns have the opportunity to go above and beyond their hands-on patient care experience and use the internship to gather and interpret data, learn how to advocate for the needs of their residents, improve the quality of their care, advocate for new equipment, learn ethical responsibility, and build upon their critical thinking and patient advocacy skills. That means that interns will either have a clinical and data driven internship, one that advocates for the physical or emotional needs of the residents, or a relational internship. All types of internships are meant to improve the quality of life and care for an ACR Homes resident. Direct Care Professionals Anna Lalande and Lindsey Schimpf recently had the opportunity to plan and facilitate a trip to Disney World for ACR resident, Bob. Here are some details from Anna on their planning and their Disney adventure!

Anna writes: "Bob had a page in his daily book that said his dream was to one day go on a vacation. I remember seeing that page in his book when I first started working at ACR Homes a year and a half ago. I thought to myself that just his daily cares seemed challenging to me; someone would have to really know him well to go on a vacation with him. It was eye-opening to realize that I had become that person after a year and a half of getting to know Bob and advocating for his needs, wants, and now dreams." Bob fully relies on assistance from his direct care staff and he is unable to verbalize his wants and needs; staff that know him well like Anna know that he loves warm weather, sunshine, good food, people watching, and sensory experiences, so Disney World seemed like a great option. Bob moves around the house like clockwork during the day, sitting in front of whichever window lets in the most sunshine. What better vacation destination than the sunshine state! 

As Anna began planning with the help of her house supervisors, she knew this was not a trip she'd be able to fulfill alone. She needed another trained and eager staff to join her, which is where her friend and fellow ACR employee Lindsey came in. Lindsey works at ACR's sister company--Arthur's Senior Care--but after accepting Anna's vacation offer, she began shadowing at the home in order to get to know Bob and his routine and needs. A month and a half and a lot of planning later, they were on the plane to Florida!
Here are some of their favorite vacation memories, shared by Anna:
  • My favorite memory was the fireworks at Magic Kingdom on day three of the trip. It felt truly magical watching the fireworks over the castle and the colorful lights projected down Main Street. We sang along to the firework music with our arms around each other’s shoulders. It was an emotional experience reflecting on how far we’ve come and the special friendships we had formed.
  • It was also incredible to see Bob’s reaction to some of the food at Disney. He has quite the sweet tooth, so some of his favorites were tiramisu, blue and green fruit flavored Star Wars milk, brioche French toast with berries, a banana caramel crêpe, and a crème brûlée that the chef made special for him without the crunchy topping. They even put a candle on top to celebrate his first vacation. I have never seen Bob get so excited over food, and it brought me so much joy to see him enjoying himself. He was definitely a bit disappointed to come home to his typical meals!
  • Bob’s favorite ride was Soarin in Epcot. You sit down in a row of side-by-side chairs, and the ride lifts you up into the air in front of a huge movie screen. Your feet dangle, and the simulator makes it feel like you’re flying around the world. Bob’s face lit up with joy as he took in every moment of the immersive experience. It was one of the few rides where all three of us could sit together, so we all got to experience this special moment.
"I am so proud of Bob for persevering through challenges, trying new things, and trusting me and Lindsey to accompany him on the vacation of a lifetime. Bob expanded my view of quality of life on this trip, and he showed me how meaningful the small moments can be. Bob didn't let his disabilities hold him back, and he showed the world that anything is possible." 
Thanks Anna, for helping make this vacation dream come true!

Watch more of their Disney Adventures Here!