A bright and engaging room for people with cognitive impairment is planned at The Friendlies Private Hospital to improve amenities for patients and their families.
With an increasing elderly population, the hospital is seeing a growing number of general admissions who need higher care.
Unit Five nurse unit manager Donna Habermann said the goal was to provide a home-like environment for patients with dementia and to activate their memories.
The project will involve painting a four-bed room in bright colours, defrosting the windows, installing local photographs and creating a mural.
“The idea is to keep the patients mentally active,” Donna said.
“If they see a picture of something they know, they’ll start talking about it, and people looking after them can engage as well.
“Dementia patients can often remember things from long ago but may not be able to remember their name.”
Donna said the room would include a memory wall, and a cork board would be installed beside each bed for relatives to pin pictures that are important to their loved one.
“That will create a conversation piece, so anyone walking into that room will know what’s important to the patient and be able to talk with them,” she said.
“We’ll be introducing diversional therapy like puzzles and encouraging volunteers to sit and talk with the patients. Training will be provided to volunteers to increase their knowledge about the challenges for those with cognitive impairment.
“We’ll also look to purchase robotic companion animals. An authentic-looking cat that purrs can provide comfort for patients who have had cats as pets in their lives.”
Donna said works to refurbish the room were planned early in the new year and community donations of cash and goods would be appreciated.
“We’d appreciate donations of things like puzzles and colouring books — for infection control they need to be things that can be wiped over and reused or given to the patient to take home,” she said.
“There’s a growing need for this type of care.
“More and more patients are coming through with cognitive impairment and there are not enough nursing home placements to accommodate them.
“There are things we can do which won’t cost a lot of money that can make a big difference to the quality of people’s lives.”
To enquire about making donations or being a volunteer working with those that live with cognitive impairment, email firstname.lastname@example.org