We are often asked if we can help by using a creative solution that would prevent accidental intrusions into resident's rooms on Memory Care Floors. These troubled rooms are invariably located at the end of a hallway and are entered when other residents are confused as to their location and wondering how to proceed when the hallway ends. Many of these residents may also be "exit seeking" - a common behaviour on Memory Care Floors.
When the wrong room is entered in this way, it leads to unwelcome surprises for both the person residing in the end-of-hall room and for the "intruder" who may believe the room is theirs or that the door they entered would lead somewhere else. In fact this scenario is one that can lead to resident-to-resident aggression or at the very least some frustration and anxiety.
We would like to share a recent project at a home in London, Ontario. It is a fairly simple design and yet it proved to be very successful in mitigating this particular problem. We invite you to read a summary of its success by a member of their Behaviour Support Team below the image.
"We the BSO team, are always looking for innovative ideas to effectively diminish or eliminate triggers of responsive behaviours. We had been challenged with a recurring circumstance that would often trigger a negative chain of events.....many residents don't recognize or pick up on cues that identify when they are maybe violating the personal boundaries and space of others. Residents who wander or are confused would often end up pooled into these end rooms as they would be drawn to the doors on the expectation of an exit at the end of the hallway. The residents who live in these rooms would be obviously and notably upset with the intrusion and have even reacted aggressively.
Creative Art Co to the rescue! Thankfully, the camouflaging effects of painting (wrapping) the end doors to create an illusion of a continuous wall (when the doors are all closed) has been effective in deterring these disoriented and/or wandering residents. They still may go down the hallways, but they are less inclined to turn door handles or enter rooms.
To address the issue of confusion for those residents whose rooms are "disguised", we found that because we have name plates and shadow boxes beside the doors to identify each resident, residents that live in those rooms have not been adversely affected. Also the end private rooms tend to house either residents who have a higher cognitive capacity or are escorted/portered to their rooms anyway and don't need to wayfind on their own. The benefit of not having unwelcome guests (leading to altercations) far outweighs any drawbacks from this initiative.
Since this project has been completed with success on the first floor, we are looking forward to continuing on the 3rd floor. We'd like to thank both of you for your compassion, creativity, work ethic and professionalism. We are so pleased with such a positive impact this has had on the residents. Thank you!"
Well, we are thrilled that it worked out! We always learn from our clients who kindly work with us in troubleshooting obstacles to harmonious co-habitation in Memory Care. Thank-you!
We plan to have end-of-hall kits as seen here available in our shop as a do-it-yourself remedy for Memory Care Floors. Coming soon.
All the best
Karen and Brian
Creative Art Co