Changing Communication with Patients with Dementia
Starrett Lodge staff not only meet the physical needs of the patient, such as feeding, toilet use, and showers. Instead, they are trained and supported to form relationships with the patients. They also give the patients choices and let them help make decisions - true person-centered care. Staff is also trained to be present and joyful themselves at work. Colin says, that if staff is not happy, the residents will not be happy.
Reducing Behaviors with Patients with Dementia
The Lodge has changed its environment to add light. Increased light helps alleviate depression and encourages more social interaction. Colin says they decreased agitation by 47%, and also decreased depression and increased quality of life. Cathy Greenblat, sociologist, explains that often the symptoms we see with dementia, such as anxiety, are not so much due to the disease process but rather due to the way the person is being treated. Instead, if the person is encouraged and supported and feels a connection to those around them, these behaviors or tendencies may disappear.
Activities Based on the True Identity of the Person with Dementia
The Lodge uses methods to get to know the past history of their patients with dementia. Where were they born, what are their favorite things? They use skills that still remain for the person as a basis for activities, so that everyone is engaged, no matter the degree of impairment. They ask the question, "Why is this person still alive?" and how can they inspire and support to allow living life in these later years?
Video from Starrett Lodge: Finding the Why- Enabling Active Participation in Life in Aged Care