Residents living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s at Providence Manor are piloting an innovative program to assist them with way-finding. This is part of a larger strategic direction to enhance the quality of life for those living with dementia, to ensure service is personalized and resident-centered, while maintaining a warm and welcoming environment.
“A colour is easier to remember than a number so we painted everyone’s door,” explains Stacy Jowett, Coordinator, Resident Activities & Student Placement.
The initiative completely transformed the Montreal 5 resident home area and added a vibrant energy. Residents selected one of five colours for their door such as bright pink, purple and yellow. Harsher colours such as red and black were avoided because they can cause agitation. A chalkboard is on the middle of the door, indicating the residents first name and room number.
“We’re piloting this because we’re going to be moving into a new building eventually, and we’d like to know if this type of way-finding is helpful,” says Stacy. “It’s important to us to make long-term care as home-like as possible. This is a resident’s home and it needs to be welcoming and friendly.”
The work was made possible by funding from Volunteer Services, with the help of volunteers and students who painted.
“The goal is for our dementia friendly resident home area to lead this region; using best practices and involvement of residents and their loved ones in all decisions. These are small steps we’re taking now,” explains Stacy who describes the feedback and results as positive.
“We’ve had a lot of residents comment on the colours and express their approval,” she says with a smile.
Two months into the pilot, Stacy says that residents are recognizing their doors. “It’s a success, so far.”
That’s not the only initiative on the resident home area that is bringing best practices to the floor. A recently refreshed Snoezelen room has proven beneficial in calming and stimulating residents. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, using the room was put on hold due to physical distancing requirements.
A Snoezelen room is a sensory room used to safely explore and stimulate all five senses. Recreationist Brooke Moorhead, along with students Courtney Tulloch and Dakota Francis spearheaded the room refresh by completing evidence based research and gathering supplies to ensure the room was as effective as possible. In addition, staff members partook in specialized Snoezelin room training sessions with a local long-term care home.
“The most exciting part of this initiative is being able to see the positive impact is has had on the residents,” explains Dakota.
“The knowledge I have gained from this has inspired me to develop a Snoezelen Room in my current workplace, a camp for children with Autism,” she continues. Dakota said the project was the greatest experience she has had in a long-term care facility.
So far, staff has seen a decrease in anxious behaviours, slowed and deepened breaths, and a reduction in pain and tremors after using the Snoezelin room.
Outfitted with bubble tubes, soothing music, fiber optics, colourful changing lights, stuffed animals and a comfortable chair, the Snoezelin room refresh has been a welcome addition to programming on the resident home area.
“Being given control over the planning and implementation allowed me to learn valuable skills. However, seeing how happy it made so many residents was even more rewarding,” adds Courtney.
Providence Manor is proud to provide meaningful programming and home-like areas to assist those living with Dementia & Alzheimer’s.