ARLINGTON, Va., -- Adaptive reconditioning programs at Soldier Recovery Units have looked and operated differently since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Virtual programs were developed so that Soldiers in the Army Recovery Care Program can continue participating in established classes like yoga and culinary arts and try new activities like salsa and Bollywood dancing.
ARCP takes an in-depth look at these changes in its Adapting to COVID-19 Series. The second article in the series explores some of the programs, resources and activities adaptive reconditioning programs offer virtually to support Soldiers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ARCP provides support to wounded, ill or injured Soldiers assigned to SRUs across the country. One way that this is accomplished is through adaptive reconditioning programs, which conduct activities and sports that help Soldiers enhance their wellbeing and reach goals.
The AR program at Fort Bliss, Texas offers a variety of activities that Soldiers can do at home, such as art, music, games, cooking, virtual tours, Bible studies and meditation. The programs have opened doors that allow Soldiers following stay-at-home orders to virtually tour the Sistine Chapel, take a guitar lesson or learn how to prepare a new recipe, all while safely at home.
Some of the programming, such as virtual meditation, has been well received. Soldiers stated that the activity relieved stress and anxiety and helped them to relax.
Another activity, led by Recreational Therapist Amy Summers, encouraged Soldiers to capture nature photos for Earth Day. Adaptive Reconditioning Support Specialist Alan Cooksey stated that the Earth Day photo activity resulted in an image collection that showcased the Soldiers’ creativity and photography skills.
The Fort Bliss SRU had a culinary arts class prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is also a little different now. The chef who taught the class has emailed lessons for the Soldiers. In addition, Cooksey filmed videos of himself preparing meals live from his kitchen. He tries to select recipes that aren’t too complex and that the Soldiers would like.
Stay-at-home orders aren’t preventing Soldiers from seeing sights, even if they are far away. Summers shares virtual tours of places of interest like the Sistine Chapel and the Grand Canyon with the Soldiers. She recently posted information about a Thunderbirds flyover as well.
Cooksey would like to keep some parts of the virtual programming, like the meditation activities, after the COVID-19 pandemic. “If we’re able to post this type of thing, it could help,” he said.
The Soldier Recovery Unit at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii also supports Soldiers via their Home Based Adaptive Reconditioning Program. The AR sends a daily email with activities and resources. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Soldiers have been able to experience ukulele lessons, mindfulness exercises, yoga, strength training, salsa and Bollywood dancing. Weekly classes, such as Spiritual Huddle, Pilates, Meditation and Music Kanikapala, are also offered.
Sgt. 1st Class Gerardo Familia participates in the Spiritual Huddle, Pilates and yoga virtual classes. “[The Home Based AR program has] helped me stay actively engaged and lose five pounds,” he said.
Adaptive reconditioning programs provide activities and sports that help wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to optimize their wellbeing, achieve their goals and return to active lifestyles. Through these virtual programs, Soldiers can continue classes and programs and try new ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 350 AR activities are offered at 14 SRUs across the country every week.
Note: Adaptive Reconditioning Support Specialist, Janalyn Dunn at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii Soldier Recovery Unit contributed to this article.
Visit this link to view the first article in the ARCP Adapting to COVID-19 Series: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/368774/adaptive-reconditioning-programs-adapt-stay-home-orders