Dementia is a mental health condition that generally affects individuals older than 65 years. It affects the memory, communication, language, visual perception, reasoning, judgment, and ability to focus and pay attention. Such effects can increase several health risks for the patients (alz.org, 2018).
Dementia Village in Netherlands addresses the health concerns of Dementia patients in the planning and management of the facility. The houses are uniquely designed, and furnished according to the time period when the patient’s memory stopped working, and is done with great accuracy. Like any small village, Moreover, the village only houses severe dementia patients and the caregiver and health professionals work in the village disguised as neighbors. The Village also does not have any currency, and everything available in the village is covered by the payment plan. The village is actually a care facility for dementia patients who lie under the façade of their new homes (Planos, 2018; Whipple, 2018; Sarmento, 2018)
A significant problem with the facility is the limitation to the number of residents it can home, and the long wait time for each admission, since the facility is already running in full capacity and a spot is available only after the demise of an existing patient. Also, the cost of admission is very high (USD 90,500 per year as of 2012), due to which the facility is out of reach for people with inadequate finances. Because of this, the facility is only able to house only 152 inhabitants, which is only a small fraction of the people suffering from dementia (Planos, 2018; Whipple, 2017; Sarmento, 2018).
The Nursing home where Anita stayed had several good qualities for effective treatment of patients with dementia. Since it was a nursing home, all the necessary equipments for care and trained medical professionals were always available, and medical supervision could be done round the clock. The nurses were very caring, and tried to bond with the patients. The patients also had their own space, where they could socialize with other residents. The dinner tables seemed like places where the residents could bond. There was warmth in their approach, which moved Anita. The nurses also seemed to be supportive of the residents, and show care and concern towards their well being.
Despite the said strengths, the overall environment of the nursing home with its array of beds and wheelchairs and its clinical appearance seemed to make the environment almost depressing. There was also the feeling that the patient’s existence is systematically divided into routines, and limits the experience of the patients. Moreover, the rooms also seemed to be crowded, and felt visually oppressive. The patients were force fed functional food, which lacked texture or taste, and almost unpalatable. The residents also were given only one shower a day, and the rest of the times they can only get a sponge bath.
My idea for a perfect facility for Dementia patients is largely based on the structure of the Dementia Village of Holland, and incorporates few other aspects to ensure the overall care of the patients. These aspects will be discussed next.
In order to support larger number of patients, the village/facility will aim to house more than 500 residents, and also have provisions for further increase. The facility will be designed like a village, and all healthcare professionals and caregivers will be living in the village along with the residents. A multidisciplinary team of professionals will be involved in the care, including general physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacologist, social support workers, spiritual counselors and counselors for healthily living. The facility will not only focus on the health needs of the patient, but also try to improve their quality of life and enable them to lead a meaningful life (Bowling et al., 2015).
The patients will have access to community halls, theaters, playgrounds and gardens, where they can be monitored non-intrusively. Since the dementia patients are often confused about their surroundings, which increases their risks of accidents and falls, any risks that can lead to accidents will be properly analyzed, and considered while planning the facility. For example, elevator switches can have automated sensors instead of switches, and operators to help the patients. It is also important for the residents to feel a sense of freedom, as they can move about on their own, without have to answer anyone’s queries (Tranvåg, 2018).. The nurses will also try to foster the patient’s ability for self care activities, and therefore help to maintain the quality of living among them.
The facility can also help the patients be involved in various activities, like gardening, music, exercise or games (Mendes et al., 2016; Tompkins et al., 2016; Gregersen et al., 2017; Guzmán et al., 2017). For this professionals/trainers/social support workers can be engaged with the residents helping them to partake in such activities. Helping to develop a community within the facility will help to collaborate the actions of the care professionals, as well have therapeutic effect on the mental health of the residents (Camic, 2017).
Most importantly, utmost care will be given to ensure the facility does not have a clinical look and looks and feels like a home to the patients. It is important to keep into consideration the despair and confusions faced by dementia patients and care being taken to reduce or eliminate any adverse experience faced by the patients. To prevent confusion among the patients, no currency will be used in the facility, and all the services will be covered under the plan. The residents can go to any local store or recreational center, and will be availed with goods or services without any payments.
alz.org. (2018). What Is Dementia?. Alzhimer's Association. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from https://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp
Bowling, A., Rowe, G., Adams, S., Sands, P., Samsi, K., Crane, M., ... & Manthorpe, J. (2015). Quality of life in dementia: a systematically conducted narrative review of dementia-specific measurement scales. Aging & mental health, 19(1), 13-31.
Camic, P. M., Hulbert, S., & Kimmel, J. (2017). Museum object handling: A health-promoting community-based activity for dementia care. Journal of health psychology, 1359105316685899.
Gregersen, R., Smærup, M., Madsen, J. M., & Ridder, H. M. (2017). Use of customized digital games improves well-being for nursing home residents with dementia. In Alzheimer Europe 2017.
Guzmán, A., Freeston, M., Rochester, L., Hughes, J. C., & James, I. A. (2016). Psychomotor Dance Therapy Intervention (DANCIN) for people with dementia in care homes: a multiple-baseline single-case study. International psychogeriatrics, 28(10), 1695-1715.
Mendes, A., & Palmer, S. J. (2016). Therapeutic use of gardening and horticulture in dementia care. Nursing And Residential Care, 18(10), 546-548.
Planos, J. (2018). The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia. The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/the-dutch-village-where-everyone-has-dementia/382195/
Sarmento, T. (2015). HOGEWEY Bringinglife to those who have forgotten. Citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1025.4938&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Tompkins, C., Ihara, E. S., Inoue, M., Matto, H., & Hudson, S. (2016). Stimulating emotions and behaviors in individuals with dementia: a personalized music intervention. Gerontologist, 56, 159-160.
Tranvåg, O., Luke, R. D., & Nåden, D. (2016). Dignity in dementia care. Stories of Dignity within Healthcare: Research, narratives and theories, 33.
Whipple, T. (2017). Dementia village is the real deal. Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dementia-village-is-the-real-deal-pkp98knnq
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