As one of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) top performers, the Portland, Ore., VA Medical Center (VAMC) has distinguished itself as a leader in the area of veteran care, programs, services and facilities, at both its Portland and Vancouver, Wash., campuses.
Nancy McFarlane, recreation therapist and registered yoga teacher, works mainly as a recreation therapist in outpatient mental health. “In that clinical area I work with veterans in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment, substance abuse treatment and general mental health treatment, for anxiety, depressive and other disorders, for instance,” she said. “My role is to help veterans find meaningful engagements in their life, because often all of those diagnoses that I just mentioned have often narrowed their life. My role is to expand the view of what is possible, to help them live a meaningful life.”
For initial assessment purposes, McFarlane uses the World Health Organization (WHO) quality of life assessment, a public domain assessment that looks at four elements: Physical Health, Social Relationships, Environment of Living/Working and Psychological Health.
“Depending on how they answer, I work with them in one or two areas that show deficits, because all of the people that I see who are referred to me have had their initial overall assessment and screening already, so I can also refer to other clinicians’ notes,” she explained. “But the piece that I really focus on and want to see is the area of quality of life, and where there are deficits.Typically it comes down to social and physical deficits, and for social, many times they don’t know how to relate to people, so they don’t, and they become increasingly isolated and are not getting enough or zero exercise, which is a selfperpetuating problem.” ...
With two dog parks on base, as well as a pet-washing station, life for man’s best friend has improved greatly over the last few years at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. The newest dog park, which opened in 2013, is located near the Welcome Home Center at Soaring Heights, the military family housing community on base. Davis-Monthan Wing Leadership, and Soaring Heights Communities representatives, opened the new park to residents and community members at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Located next to one of the largest parks in the housing community, the PetSmart Dog Park is central to the entire housing area, which was key during development, according to Kiki Villanueva, assistant development manager for Soaring Heights Communities. “We wanted to make sure the park was accessible to all residents, and not in a location that would only be used by a select few,” she said.
“At Soaring Heights, almost 60 percent of residents have dogs,” added Jim Switzer, Soaring Heights Communities project director. “From the native vegetation to the outdoor lighting, which allows residents to use the park after dark when the outside temperature is cooler, the PetSmart Dog Park was built with our climate, and residents, in mind.” The total cost for the park was $56,000. PetSmart, which was the primary donor, contributed $43,000 to the project, while Lend Lease (US) Community Fund, and the Lend Lease Foundation together donated $13,000 for the project. Soaring Heights Communities is a 50-year partnership created between the Air Force and Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI). ...