There are a number of general principles to keep in mind throughout the protocol:
Allow the resident time to respond to a question or complete a task.
- Silence can be useful to allow for the resident to process each step of the IPPI
Notice responsive behaviors (behavioral, non-verbal).
- As you are engaged in the activity with the resident, pay attention to the resident’s reactions and responses to what you and she are doing.
- Particularly watch for nonverbal responses such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, etc., that might give you additional clues as to how the resident is responding to the activity.
Validate the resident’s thoughts and feelings.
- Reinforce what the resident is saying or feeling by picking up on any key words or gestures that the resident uses and “echoing” them back to him or her.
- For example, if you identify a pleasurable expression of emotion you may want to comment on that by saying, “I can see you liked that.”
Encourage the resident to do as much as possible.
- This will vary depending on the IPPI being done.
Focus on the process, not only the product.
- The most important piece of each activity is that it is a positive emotional experience for the resident.
If all else fails, talk about anything.
- If the resident does not want to continue with the activity, try changing the subject. Talk about whatever else may interest the resident at that time, a holiday that’s coming up, special family memories, etc.
If the resident becomes agitated, try to calm him or her down.
- Before walking away, try focusing on something other than what you are doing. For example, compliment the resident on what she is wearing, comment on the weather outside, remind the resident that you are there to just spend some time together and you could just sit quietly together and relax. Provide some comforting gestures if the resident is receptive, such as stroking her back, holding hands, etc.
- If the resident continues to be agitated, end the session.