The front of the dollhouse

Rehab patients at Heritage Healthcare in West Lafayette, Indiana, recently completed a wooden dollhouse project.


It all started when a patient with cancer was looking for a project to enjoy, and the mother of Keith Screen, director of rehab, donated a kit to the facility. The patient helped do most of the painting and initial sanding during his rehab, which helped him work on gross motor skills and fine motor coordination.


When the patient did as much as he could, other patients took over, applying their talents to make doors and windows and measure trim. Screen did all the wood cutting, but the residents helped with most of the other steps of the process.


“Staff and residents had fun reminiscing of their own dollhouses and childhood toys,” said Screen. “A few of the residents that actually had home-building experience were instrumental in getting the doors hung correctly and figuring out the angles for the nearly 800 roof tiles that were applied.”


From a therapy standpoint, the work on the dollhouse enabled patients to increase strength and activity tolerance, standing balance and functional fine-motor skills (such as those used in measuring, marking wood pieces for cutting and gluing the pieces together).


“I found that a resident who struggled with just a little bit of regular exercise could go twice as long with the purposeful tasks, with more improvement,” said Screen.


“Everybody put in a lot of work,” said patient Roger Ratcliff. “It made therapy fun, and it was nice to see the progress each day. It turned out beautifully.”


Heritage Healthcare auctioned off the house and used the funds for the residents’ Christmas party in December 2017.

View More Images