National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Activities
Involve Your Facility and Your Community
The goal of the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation is to involve as many people as possible in the annual awareness celebration. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.
Community Outreach Activities
- Plan an Open House and offer free health screenings, health information and tours of your facility.
- Host professional seminars and workshops for rehabilitation and human service specialists.
- Organize interactive health fairs or rehab expos at area malls or other high traffic locations.
- Secure proclamations (sample proclamation) from government offices declaring the week "National Rehabilitation Awareness Week."
- Write a guest editorial to area newspapers regarding the positive impact of rehab.
- Hold a rehab technology fair highlighting the assistive equipment available which enables people to live independently.
- Invite local schools to participate in poster contests using "Celebrating the Successes of People With Disabilities" as a theme. Display art work through- out your facility.
- Place an ad in the newspaper saluting employees, patients or clients.
- Speak to school groups about rehabilitation careers.
- Organize disability sensitivity awareness events.
- Organize wheelchair sports challenges. To increase promotion, invite local news reporters and celebrities to participate.
- Pitch rehab success stories to newspaper and magazine feature writers.
- Arrange radio and television talk show interviews with rehab professionals and those who have overcome disability through rehab.
- Arrange exhibits and displays in public facilities.
- Hold rehab trivia contests.
- Encourage local businesses to participate by displaying educational information and posters.
- Invite government officials and media representatives to participate in a walking survey of the community to determine if all public areas are wheelchair accessible. Take action to correct areas which are not.
- Be creative and think of fun and unique ways to celebrate! In the past, participants have buried time capsules; organized marathons; coordinated a hot air balloon race; hosted a county-wide tailgate party; held sports clinics; and constructed a fully accessible playground in observance of the celebration.
Activities Within Your Organization
- Hold a rehab trivia day to educate employees.
- Honor rehab employees at a special recognition day.
- Organize healthcare olympics among staff members.
- Decorate with banners and posters.
- Present awards to employees for outstanding service or contributions.
- Hold a "Guess the Therapists Day" using old photos.
- Treat patients or employees to a day of pampering, such as free back massage, manicures, etc.
- Coordinate educational in-service training sessions.
- Host a reunion of former patients.
- Highlight a different rehab specialty area each day, such as physical therapy, rehab nursing, occupational therapy or speech pathology.
- Publish special editions of corporate newsletters which focus on the national celebration.
Communicating Your Message
The National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration is a valuable public relations vehicle for promoting the importance of rehabilitation. Some ideas can be found here for effectively communicating your stories.
- Develop a feature story about the history and benefits of rehabilitation. Include your own successes as well as national statistics.
- Highlight some noteworthy qualities of your facility as they relate to the rehabilitation field. Is it the largest, the only, the newest? Emphasize anything that sets it apart from others.
- Drama and human interest abound in rehabilitation facilities. Develop a story about a before- and- after case representing a success story.
- Develop a feature story about attitudes toward people with disabilities and their rehabilitation. People perceive disability in many ways, and some of their perceptions may be based on incorrect information.
- Single out some special people, accomplishments or programs that have been a source of pride in your institution.
- Develop a regional awards program.
- Spotlight individuals within your community who have overcome disability and achieved goals.
- Examine the positive impact of placing people with disabilities in the workforce.
- Send media kits to local newspapers, television and radio stations to inform them of the goals of the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration and how your organization will observe the event. Sample Public Service Announcement
Share Rehab Facts and Information
Promote the value and importance of rehabilitation by sharing information with the public through educational forums, festivals, fairs; through media outlets such as newspapers, television and radio reports; or display through billboards, banners, community bulletin boards, etc. Include rehab statistics from your own organization or use the following general information.
- Rehabilitation is a medical specialty which helps restore people affected by potentially disabling disease or traumatic injury to good health and functional, productive lives and also helps minimize physical or cognitive disabilities.
- Rehabilitation often centers on a interdisciplinary team approach to care by physiatrists (physicians specializing in rehabilitation); physical, occupational, respiratory and recreational therapists; speech and language pathologists; rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, vocational counselors and other professionals who work with patients to restore the greatest level of function or independence. The rehab team helps individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living.
- Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability does not discriminate - every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation.
- Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives.
- Rehabilitation is an integral part of healthcare and a tremendous component in providing patients with positive outcomes.
- Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level.
- Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.
- Statistics show that medical rehabilitation improves lives and saves money. For every $1 spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living.
- Independence gained or retained through rehabilitation is priceless.