All night programming for people with dementia? It's happening
Innovative program showing successes, but home size an important factor to consider, says LEC
October 22, 2012
A New York City long-term care home is ensuring people living with dementia that are awake at nights are having their needs met in a meaningful way, and the idea is one that could work well at larger long-term care residences closer to home, says one OMNI Health Care staff member.
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Since 1998, the Hebrew Home, located in the Bronx, has been offering an overnight “dementia camp” to residents with cognitive impairment who wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
The program is also open to people with dementia who are being cared for by family members. The opportunity to attend the program for these individuals provides respite to loved ones while delivering a good time to people with dementia who are awake at night.
The program, which receives funding from Medicaid, offers people with dementia all-night activities, such as dancing, painting, singalongs and therapy sessions.
West Lake Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Julie Clarkson says there are always residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia who are awake throughout the night.
While such a program might not be best suited to a small long-term care home like hers — West Lake Terrace has 47 beds — it might work well at a larger home, where there is more space to ensure all-night activities don’t disturb residents who are sleeping.
There is also staffing issues to consider.
“This might work well in a larger home, but in a small home like this you would have to have other staff members on,” says Clarkson.
In order to make such a program effective, Clarkson adds, there would also need to be processes in place to make sure those residents who are up all night get adequate daytime rest.
Additionally, Clarkson says if more long-term care homes were to establish similar programs staff members would have to make sure residents were eating properly at night.
“You would have to make sure the whole continuum of care was working as if (the program) was running in the daytime,” says Clarkson.
While the Prince Edward County long-term care home does not offer overnight activities to residents with dementia who wake up in the middle of the night, Clarkson says supports, such as one-to-one time are available to ensure people have their needs met.
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