Adaptive reconditioning programs “adapt” to stay-at-home orders
By Christopher FieldsApril 29, 2020
ARLINGTON, Va. – By its very nature, the Army Recovery Care Program's adaptive reconditioning is about modifying activities to help Soldiers recover from wounds, illness or injury. With federal, state and DoD guidelines in place to combat COVID-19, adaptive reconditioning teams at Soldier Recovery Units are finding unique ways to stay engaged with their Soldiers.Many of the SRUs are turning to web-based meeting tools to continue conducting workouts and activities, as well as mobile applications to help track fitness activities and hold each other accountable through in-app competitions.Maj. Charles Lewis, a Soldier in transition at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland is happily taking advantage of the virtual options being offered. “As someone who is at higher risk because of my condition, encouragement from the [adaptive reconditioning] team means a whole lot,” Lewis said. “I was in the wellness group before coronavirus put everything on hold, and what they are offering now ensures that I can stay active and I don’t lose all the hard work I gained during wellness group.”Chief Warrant Officer 3 Angela Duarte, also at Walter Reed, welcomes the virtual options as a way to not only maintain fitness, but stay in touch with others. “I make sure to stay regularly active in all the workouts, yoga classes, and recreational activities except when I have appointments. I think the [apps] they are using are a great way to connect, stay active and motivated.”In addition to fitness related activities similar to those at Walter Reed, the SRU at Fort Carson, Colorado has introduced do-it-yourself projects and nature photography events for their Soldiers. They have quickly become some of their most popular events.“It seems everyone at home is either working on a home project or outside exercising on the local nature trails with proper physical distancing with no groups of any kind allowed,” said Marc Cattapan, Adaptive Reconditioning Support Specialist at the Fort Carson SRU. “Pictures and descriptions of the projects are being shared every day, and as cycling, hiking, and neighborhood walks are some of the most popular outdoor activities here, everyone is marveling at the pictures of nature in and around Colorado Springs.”The staff at the SRU, Fort Riley, Kansas is emailing daily wellness packets with useful links and recorded videos from adaptive reconditioning support specialists, in an effort to help ease levels of loneliness and give tools for Soldiers to stay aware of their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The information also includes easy food recipes and a variety of walking routes for Soldiers.Fort Riley SRU Chaplain, Capt. Paul Shin, is also helping Soldiers to maintain their spiritual health by conducting a virtual Bible study."The virtual Bible Study was amazing,” said Spc. Tete Awoume. “We talked about how to overcome the stress and anxiety we are feeling. Chaplain Shin invited us to meditate on Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalms 94 [which talk about handling anxiety].”One benefit of the virtual-based adaptive reconditioning is it has allowed staff at SRUs time to perform maintenance on bicycles, archery and shooting equipment. A necessary task, although many right now would welcome a hectic schedule and the need to find time to complete it.The ability to adapt and overcome is an everyday mindset for Soldiers and because of it the Army Recovery Care Program is finding creative ways to support its Soldiers and execute its mission.