Concussion Redefined

June 2011

On June 8, 2011, Winning Wheels staff presented the seminar "Concussion Redefined", for local teachers, coaches, school nurses and other school personnel. Topics of concussion such as signs/symptoms, consequences and brain injuries were covered. A discussion panel ended the seminar, where attendees had the opportunity to ask questions regarding concussions and brain injuries. Panel members included Dr. Anthony Kwan, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist and Winning Wheels rehabilitation and therapy professionals. The Channel 8 News Team interviewed attendees and speakers regarding the importance of promoting concussion and brain injury awareness.

Winning Wheels looks forward to expanding the Community Outreach Educational Program to advocate for brain injury awareness.

S.T.R.I.V.E. Celebrates 20 Years

Summer 2011

Twenty years ago, S.T.R.I.V.E. opened its doors to serve 16 young, physically disabled adults who have a diagnosis if Cerebral Palsy or Spina Bifida and use a wheelchair for mobility. For most, moving to S.T.R.I.V.E. is their first time away from home. S.T.R.I.V.E. is an acronym for Socialization, Training, Rehabilitation, Independence, Vocation and Education. The goal of S.T.R.I.V.E. is for residents to increase or maintain their skills to live as independently as possible. With the assistance of staff and specific adaptive equipment, they learn to take part in their daily care to the best of their ability. Over the past twenty years, approximately 15 residents have been able to move to a more independent living setting.

Many would be surprised at the number of activities in which the S.T.R.I.V.E. residents are involved. All attend the Day Treatment Program in Lyndon Monday through Friday and also participate in a full therapy regime that includes physical, occupational and recreational therapy.

A monthly calendar is planned according to residents' input on where they would like to go in the community. Outings have included sporting events and concerts at the I-Wireless Center, shopping in Sterling and the Quad Cities, attending restaurants, movies, swimming and outrigger canoing.

S.T.R.I.V.E. celebrated their 20th anniversary milestone with an Open House on May 7th. Residents and their families, staff and members of the community joined in the celebration which included door prizes, snacks and refreshments, and games for the kids.

Anne Dunbar has been the S.T.R.I.V.E. Administrator from the beginning. Anne says, "S.T.R.I.V.E. has never fit the mold of a typical DD facility. In working with individuals who all use wheelchairs for mobility, we often have to adapt or create our own equipment and ideas for groups. We are driven by the needs of the residents we serve and are lucky to have a very creative staff who bring energy and new ideas to provide positive experiences. At S.T.R.I.V.E., quality of life is always about treating the whole person, exposing them to new experiences, in addition to providing good care. As in the last 20 years, I know that S.T.R.I.V.E. will continue to keep current with the times and offer the same technology and comforts that non-disabled people enjoy. We are always looking for ways to make our residents' lives better."

Neurofeedback Program

Winter 2011

The Neurofeedback Program at Winning Wheels is a wonderful addition to the rehabilitation offered to our residents. The program is approaching its first anniversary and, to date, 16 residents have utilized this treatment to improve alertness, concentration, memory, language understanding and expression. Gains in cognition, along with improvements in mood, sleep patterns, and ability to interact with peers and staff on a daily basis are reported.

Neurofeedback takes advantage of subconscious learning by the brain. Through the brain's EEG signal, a game is presented to the resident in which the goal is to gain auditory reward. The brain has to change the wave patterns it is emitting in order to earn the reward. Wave pattern adjustments are geared toward regulating alertness while maintaining a sense of calm, which is the best situation for learning and memory. The brain has the ability to realize that the changes made through neurofeedback helps it to operate more efficiently, and that is what helps those positive changes become permanent.

This useful treatment is helpful to residents at different of levels of functioning. During this treatment, a resident does not have to say anything nor use any motor functioning. He or she is simply told to watch and focus on what is on the computer monitor. Even if the resident has limited understanding, the individual's brainstem is capable of receiving the auditory reward and works to keep the reward coming at a steady, consistent basis.

Some examples of encouraging results seen at Winning Wheels so far:

  • A young man, who is nearing the completion of his treatment, has regained the ability to express himself from 1-2 words to 6-10 word sentences. He no longer needs a communication board to assist him in expressioning his needs.
  • Another young man, who has been receiving treatment since the Summer, is opening his mouth on command and he allows staff to complete needed oral care with him.
  • A woman, who has difficulty with expressing herself, is now naming common objects with greater accuracy, which helps her to direct her care much more easily.
  • A man, who has had his brain injury for several years, started following simple commands and regained some motor movement in his arms.

Through opportunities for advanced education and networking with other neurofeedback providers, this treatment program has plenty of room for growth and further benefits for current and future residents!

100th Nurse Aide Training Class

January 2011

Winning Wheels' Nurse Aide Trainer, Regi Fortune, reached a milestone this January when she taught her 100th Nurse Aide Training Course. A luncheon was held in her honor at the Lyndon Progress Center.

Regi has been a Registered Nurse since 1978, and started working at Winning Wheels on September 12, 1988. Winning Wheels began its class to certify nurses aides in 1993, and Regi has been teaching the class since the beginning. The classroom has changed locations several times, and Regi used to carry her teaching materials in the trunk of her car. She now has a permanent classroom at the Lyndon Progress Center.

Regi says she has used five different editions of the textbook and has taught classes as small as one and as large as 23.

Regi is a wonderful singer, enjoys her horses and trail-riding with her husband, Tom.

Apparently, Regi plans to teach many more classes. When asked when the next class would start, she responded, "When do you need it?".

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