My first visit to Danville State Hospital was very different from what I had imagined, but was great. I spoke to some men in the male only unit and was hoping to talk to the females the next time. That being said, I was able to interact and play games with the females on my second visit and it was a different experience. I feel the women were more outgoing and talkative.
There were four consumers that sat at the table with me and two other students from class. One consumer was content with watching us play cards and insisting on not playing with us. She was highly functioning mentally and physically, however when asked to play, she seemed to scold us students and the staff. One of the other consumers was older and excited to play cards. She demonstrated mental stability, but was on the slower side when making decisions about the card game. She always wanted to make her own choices and was not so accepting of help from others. Although she was taking a while to make decisions, she was always smiling and laughing during the game, especially when she was beating others during the game. Another consumer was highly functioning in all areas, mentally, physically and even socially. In my opinion, I think she was ready to move to the next stage of her life past DSH and think she was going to. The final consumer we were sitting with was a woman in a wheelchair. She was not physically there, given disabilities and shaky hands during the card game. This consumer also often asked the students at the table to put cards between and out of her fingers. However, having said that, her cognitive abilities were that of high capacity. She was extremely friendly to her fellow consumers and us Bucknell Students. Also, this consumer created a more complex version to Go Fish. It was based on the original game, but this version had three separate piles of cards called the ocean, the sea, and the lake. Thus, every time one had to draw a card, they were instructed to pick from one of those bodies of waters. Most of the consumers asked the students to reach for cards on the table because they were immobile to some extent, especially when it related to reaching across and getting out of their seat, simply flexibility. The consumer who created this game was always smiling and laughing. She was very helpful and informative when explaining the game. It was obvious she was thrilled to teach us this game and play it. Throughout the entire game she was cracking jokes with everyone at the table. In addition, as the session was coming to a close, she kept insisting on playing another game. I could tell she loved these visits and I am so happy we can have that impact on these consumers.