After spending years working with brain injury patients, Wisconsin nurse Lisa Alberte decided to take matters into her own hands to find a way to help them. And her creative approach may be worth being duplicated.
Alberte started a haven for the brain-injured, Acres of Hope and Aspirations, in Muskego in May. It is located on a five-acre site in a rural area.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday did a story about Acres of Hope, which is comprised of a home and small farm where the brain-injured receive care, vocational rehabilitation, and cognitive skills and safety training.
Instead of therapy dogs, Alberte is using two deer, donkeys, ducks, chickens, potbellied pigs, peacocks and a blind pony as “creatures of rehab.” Clients at Acres of Hope get to learn the creatures’ names and care for them, tasks that improve their memory skills, according to Alberte.
The main goal of the facility is to give the brain-injured the skills they need to get and keep a job.
The story mentions several of the people being treated at Acres of Hope, including Winlom Woods, who still has a bullet in his head after being shot in by a sniper in Iraq in July 2006.
Alberte cleverly compares the situations that the brain-injured deal with to the Wizard of Oz. They are like the Tin Man, who wanted a brain. They often lose a loved one, like the Tin Man. They often lose their courage, like the cowardly Lion. And some lose their homes, like Dorothy, and wind up in nursing homes. And according to Alberte, the “wicked witches” that her patients encounter include being unable to remember, work and drive.
Continuing with that analogy, then Alberte is Glenda, the good witch. With any luck, perhaps more Acres of Hope will pop up around the country.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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