In order to help create a Sensory Room, UHC-K is holding a fundraiser at the facility (115 White Road in King). We are having a Community Family Fun Day on Friday, August 12 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. (Rain date is Sat., Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.) There will be lots of fun activities for a minimal cost. The activities include face painting, Obstacle Bounce House, Double Slide, Dunkin Booth, Rubber Duck game and more. We will also be holding raffles for lots of great items, one of which is a television! Food and drink will also be available for a reasonable price. Please come join us for a great time and for a great cause!
What are the first thoughts that come into your mind when you hear someone say long-term care or nursing home? More than likely, those thoughts will be more negative than positive. A person’s home is usually an expression of who they are. It is not surprising then that most people who must move from their own home to an unfamiliar environment, such as a long-term care facility, will many times experience feelings of helplessness, despair and even depression. This circumstance also greatly impacts family members who have to make this difficult and heartbreaking decision for their loved one. Fortunately, most long-term care facilities now recognize the need to create both an environment and a staff mindset that focus on each resident as a unique individual with unique likes, dislikes, and needs.
At Universal Healthcare of King (UHC-K), we believe that excellent care goes beyond just meeting our residents’ physical needs. We do not view our facility as just a building with beds; we view it as our residents’ home. We are dedicated to providing our residents with an environment and activities that address their emotional, mental and social well-being. Our facility is implementing some exciting initiatives we feel will enhance the care we are already providing in these areas. The staff at UHC-K is excited to announce to the community that we are currently developing a specialized Sensory Room.
Sensory Rooms provide a relaxing, specially designed environment where gentle stimulation of the different senses such as sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement can be used. Stimulation can be increased or decreased to match the interests and needs of the resident. Much research has been conducted world-wide that has shown these unique rooms greatly help residents who have dementia, head injury, stroke, movement limitations, hearing loss, and/or vision loss. It is a well-known fact that people with dementia/Alzheimer’s who are not given appropriate activities to participate in will experience boredom, frustration, and sadness. These situations often result in the resident developing social isolation tendencies, becoming agitated, and/or pacing and wandering about as though they are searching for something. All of these behaviors interrupt any attempts to assist these residents in maintaining their ability to continue to perform some basic self-care skills. After spending time in a Sensory Room, most residents experience positive mood changes and behavior, as well as increased ability to pay attention to their surroundings. Sensory Rooms can also help decrease the need to use sedatives in some dementia/Alzheimer’s residents.
At UHC-K, our goal is to avoid using medication as a way to calm residents and control potentially unsafe behaviors. We believe that creating a Sensory Room will help us to meet that goal, thus increasing the quality of life and safety for these vulnerable elders. Basic work has already begun on our Sensory Room, but much more work is needed before it becomes a reality. Our Director of Nursing, Laural Lindsay, has made this Sensory Room her special project, with the amazing support of the administrator, Joetta Madsen. She has some wonderful ideas that will enhance the quality of life of the residents that she cares for so much. On any given day, Laural can be found coaching a resident who is visually impaired, giving hugs and kisses to residents and stopping to talk and listening to residents’ concerns. Her door is always open and she enjoys talking to the residents. So, it is not unusual for her to spend so much time researching to find a way to help her residents even more.
Every aspect of the Sensory Room’s design must be well-thought out and based on research. Special lighting is needed that can provide different degrees of brightness or dimness based on the approach the individual resident needs. Other specifications include color of the walls (colors affect mood); different textures of materials to stimulate the sense of touch; and sound equipment to provide various sounds that stimulate the sense of hearing. Another interesting aspect that will be used in the Sensory Room is aroma therapy. Aroma therapy uses essential oils and is based on years of research regarding how different smells affect a person’s mood and emotions. For example, lavender oil creates a calming effect, while peppermint oil can help if the resident is experiencing lack of emotions. Obviously, all of these interventions are preferred over the use of sedatives.
Join us this Friday, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. for family fun activities and support a great cause!