Homes championing programming for people with cognitive impairment
A variety of best practices proving effective at calming agitation
July 26, 2011
OMNI Health Care long-term care homes are proving to be champions at providing effective programming for residents affected by cognitive impairment by utilizing a myriad of best practices.
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Interventions that are showing positive results including music therapy, sensory activities and even outings that help people reflect on their lives.
Riverview Manor restorative-care aide Mary Lou Rayment cites music-therapy programs as effective tools for meeting the needs of residents affected by cognitive impairment.
Music-therapy programs offered at the Peterborough long-term care home include activities that utilize drums, whistles and bells.
"Music always calms you (and) it takes your mind off your problems (and) brings back good memories for people," she says.
Burnbrae Gardens life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) April Faux says sensory programming — particularly a treasure hunt — is helping prevent agitation in residents affected by cognitive impairment.
The treasure hunt involves a box filled with 15 small items of different shapes — everything from a marble to a small car to a heart-shaped nugget.
Residents are prompted to reach in and feel around to find each shape and, as they succeed, items are checked off a list by assisting staff.
Faux says there a sense of "acceptance and achievement" as items are checked off the list and it works for both high- and low-functioning individuals because it can easily be modified or cut short if an individual does become agitated.
"I think there's a sense of achievement in that they can still identify certain items and be able to do what you ask, even though they may have dementia or they're impaired in some other way, there's still a sense of achievement," says Faux.
Team members at Village Green in Selby are finding that outings to familiar places are engaging residents with cognitive impairment.
A recent outing to a nearby cheese, for example, brought back memories for one gentleman with cognitive impairment. As the OMNI van drove through the area, the fields he used to tend to and the houses where friends and neighbours made their lives along the country roads took the resident back to another era.
"This gentleman doesn't say much, but he was talking and watching everything because he used to work those fields, he worked on the farms that we were passing, and he was quite talkative about it," says LEC Karen Coulter.
"I see that enjoyment and it makes my heart just feel full — it's very emotional in the sense that you're happy that they're connecting with something, and to see them connect with their past in such a good way is very heartwarming."
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