Winchester, CA – Going to work every day is sheer joy for Joan Retelle, as she is a Craft Care Specialist (CCS) providing therapeutic arts & crafts kits to the patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“Although I’m a registered nurse, I’ve been working as a CCS for about seven months,” said Retelle. “I’ve enjoyed crafting most of my life, so it’s a blessing to be able to use the arts to aid veterans in their rehabilitation and recovery. I’ve seen numerous patients regain the sparkle in their eyes as they work on their kits. They go from sullen and withdrawn to having almost childlike enthusiasm when anticipating their next project.”
Retelle makes the rounds on several wards along with the outpatient area. “The arts & crafts help to decrease boredom, improve fine motor skills for those with arm and hand injuries, increase ability to concentrate and deter the mental and physical pain,” said Retelle.
Lieutenant Colonel Sandra Harrison-Weaver, chief, integrated occupational therapy service said, “We are so grateful to have Joan working with us in delivering HHV’s crafts to our veteran patients. Every day, we have patients who seek us in order to select a craft kit to work on. There are many who cannot leave the wards, so Joan takes the kits directly to them. This allows for more productive use of their time and takes their minds off the pain and boredom. Many will make the kits as gifts for loved ones. In some instances, the therapists will select a project for a patient as part of a specific therapy. HHV and its CCS program are essential in our mission of delivering world-class care,” said Weaver.