Friday, July 17, 2009

Lounge program benefits Village Manor residents with dementia

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Special to Reflector-Chronicle

Editor’s note: First names are used in this article for privacy purposes.

According to the nursing staff at Village Manor, 705 N. Brady, Sue, a resident suffering from dementia, does not leave her room. She is not interested in group activities, and does not interact with other residents at the nursing home.

Dementia residents like Sue have a short attention span and often experience boredom and disinterest. This is common behavior for people experiencing the advanced stages of dementia. Other advanced dementia traits can be agitation, combativeness, restlessness, and wandering.

“Sometimes it is difficult to engage these residents, even for just a few minutes,” said Jan Mai, RN, special care unit staff educator. “And with group activities, it is rare that we have every resident on the same page at the same time.”

Last year, Mai and other Village Manor staff attended a training workshop on Alzheimer’s and dementia and learned about the lounge program, which has seen success with Alzheimer’s and dementia residents in other nursing homes. As a result, Village Manor has started a lounge program on its special care unit that provides individual and small group activities to all residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A lounge room has strength-based stations that are specific to the individual’s level of functioning and interests. These stations are tables the resident can visit with props they may hold and use. The props are everyday familiarities that engage the mind and may include jewelry, sewing materials, tools, and puzzles. The majority of residents in Village Manor’s special care unit have advanced dementia. “Sorting” stations are the most beneficial for people in this stage, Mai said.

“These sorting activities are ideal because it helps with the ‘rummaging’ behaviors that are common with people who have advanced dementia. Sometimes residents will attempt to go into areas they don’t belong, such as other residents’ rooms, and rummage through things,” Mai said. “The lounge area gives them a safe place to do this, and it lessens boredom.”

After collecting donated items and shopping in thrift stores, Mai set up three sorting stations- jewelry, sewing, and cooking. She hopes to create a table that would engage male residents with materials such as sand paper, hand tools, nuts and bolts. She also would like to add soft background music.

A nurse or nursing assistant, called a “butterfly,” is to guide the resident from station to station. The butterfly is to be very quiet and provide few cues. If the resident loses interest in one station, the butterfly will show them the next station and see if it will peak their interest. It is up to the resident when they choose to leave.

Sue approached the “cooking” station with Mai and looked over the measuring spoons, pots, and other assorted kitchen ware. Mai held out a colorful apron that women of Sue’s generation would have worn and asked her if she thought it was pretty. Sue replied that she thought it was pretty.

Life enhancement coordinator Lynette Hill picked up a cookbook by Billie Oakley and showed it to Sue.

“Do you remember when ‘Kitchen Klatter’ was on the radio? Billie Oakley hosted that show. This is one of her cookbooks.”

After a moment of thought, Sue said yes, she did remember the show.

After a few minutes, Sue tells Hill that she is ready to leave. Hill escorts her back to her room, and is surprised when Sue holds a brief conversation with another resident in the hallway.

“We just witnessed a miracle,” Hill said. “That is the most engagement we’ve had with Sue since she started living here. I have never seen her talk with another resident.”

When Velda, another resident with dementia, enters the room, she is guided to all of Lounge program benefits residents with dementia

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