The Harbour mental health hospital in Blackpool has introduced everyday activity settings across its dementia wards to help residents - who are struggling with unfamiliar surroundings - feel more at ease.
Dementia is a confusing and debilitating condition. Even in familiar surroundings, those living with dementia may feel anxious and uncertain. Reminiscence therapy - discussion of memories and past experiences, uses photographs, music and props to stimulate conversation. Staff at The Harbour’s Bronte and Wordsworth wards have created four everyday settings to help residents feel safe, calm and mentally stimulated including a corner shop, train carriage, a relaxing view of the beach and a laundrette.
Lorraine Poppleton, Matron on Bronte Ward at The Harbour, a service run by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft) said: “Following the success of front door wraps last year, which helped our residents navigate their way back to their bedrooms, we wanted to expand their sensory experiences.
Recreating familiar experiences such as a train journey, coffee at a local café, or a trip to the laundrette, supports residents through routine, to focus and reorientate if they feel confused or distressed.
“Navigating their way between the settings and day-to-day tasks, helps people to re-live memories, be in the moment and share stories with other residents and staff on the ward.
“The new settings have proved most affective during a time in the day we refer to as ‘sundowning’ – typically between late afternoon and early evening. It’s a time when our residents can feel most confused.
We all need a point of focus at this time of day like finishing work, heading home or socialising. People living with dementia equally need that focus and ‘somewhere to be’ during these times. Our everyday settings gently help residents navigate themselves through their routine to end the day well, reducing the risk of worry, uncertainty and anxiety.”
“We are really pleased with the impact they’ve had so far, it has really helped to grow our engagement with residents.”