SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

Help Hospitalized Veterans

March 28, 2011 17:38 ET

Arts and Crafts Improving Lives of Sick and Injured Vets

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwire - March 28, 2011) - Caring, creativity and commitment are what Theresa Johnson, craft care specialist (CCS) at the Des Moines, Iowa VA Medical Center brings to her job. Johnson, a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a degree in recreation therapy, spent eight years as a recreation therapist working in a VA hospital before taking the job as CCS. Witnessing the powerful impact that a craft kit can have on a veteran patient in a rehabilitative setting often has Johnson enthusiastically informing others about Help Hospitalized Veterans' (HHV) arts & crafts program.

"I remember a veteran who was in a motorcycle accident and was hospitalized for a long time. He repeatedly said that he didn't know what he'd have done without HHV's kits, insisting they were his lifesaver," says Johnson. Johnson works in a variety of hospital settings and says the benefits of working on the craft kits are varied but positive results are always there. For the occupational therapy patient there may be fine motor skills improvement, while for patients who have suffered strokes or other debilitating conditions, the kits can aid in improved hand function increasing the veteran's ability to participate in day-to-day activities. Those on the dementia ward often experience a sense of "reminiscent therapy" as Johnson puts it, which gives the veteran a sense of something familiar with their past. For other veterans who may be coping with substance abuse rehabilitation, working on the crafts allows exposure to a healthier leisure time activity. 

Johnson has a special place in her heart for veterans and the military in general. Her husband is currently gearing up for deployment in the Middle East as a medical technologist and her son is finishing up the ROTC program at Iowa State University and will soon serve as an officer in the military.

Johnson is one of 60 CCSs working for HHV stationed at a VA or military hospital or veterans nursing homes nationwide. HHV is the largest provider of free therapeutic arts and craft kits and since 1971 has donated nearly 27 million arts and craft kits to veteran and military patients throughout the world.

For more information about HHV visit hhv.org or call 1-888-567-VETS.

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