Lisa Alberte, a registered nurse and director of the Acres of Hope and Aspirations brain injury rehabilitation facility in Muskego, was a keynote speaker for the Nursing Matters Expo last week at the Alliant Center in Madison.
Nestled in a residential area on five acres, Acres of Hope combines therapy for brain injury patients provided by nurses as well as through the human-animal bond. Alberte was accompanied in Madison by the facilities' residents — patients and animals alike.
"We were very excited to take some of our creatures of rehab and bring awareness to the silent epidemic of brain injury since a brain injury alters, changes or takes a life every 19 seconds," Alberte said.
She explained that the interactions between the animals on the farm, many of which are themselves impaired in some form, are often an illustration of the care that nurses provide.
"Batman is a seeing-eyed guide potbelly pig for a blind pony named Queenie, which correlates a lot to how nurses have to lead and help people in life that are blinded unexpectedly by disability, illness or injury such as cancer, heart disease and brain injury," Alberte explained. "Batman is a lot like nurses who are the compassionate and motivating strength to protect, advocate and nurture. Queenie is a lot like patients who unexpectedly develop cancer, brain injury, heart disease, etc. and often blinded in how to live life with deficits."
The animals themselves were a subject for the Nursing Matters December 2011 edition.