Door murals adding to community feel at Garden Terrace while guiding residents to their rooms

Hallway has ‘become a vibrant neighbourhood with residents living behind their unique front door’

The OMNIway recently told you about how murals of bookshelves painted on three doors at Garden Terrace have helped reduce exit-seeking behaviours and agitation in residents with cognitive impairment. Today’s story is about how murals on doors are also helping residents find their way at the Ottawa-area long-term care home.

After the success of the “diversion doors,” which were painted in March 2017, multimedia artist Andréa Fabricius was invited back to Garden Terrace in January. This time she was tasked to create murals to give residents’ rooms a “neighbourhood feeling” on the men’s dementia floor.

“The idea was to paint each residents’ room door to look like a front door one would see in a neighbourhood to create a sense of community and ownership within the (home),” Andréa says.

The artist chose four colours: red, orange, blue and green. She rotated the pattern down the hall for the base colour of the doors. Each door was painted with a unique composition, including windows, panels, mailboxes and door knockers.

The individual doors act as cueing devices to guide the residents’ into their own rooms.

It has worked well.

Staff, family and residents have commented that the hallway has “become a vibrant neighbourhood with residents living behind their unique front door,” Andréa says. Flower pots were also added to contribute to the neighbourhood environment.

“One resident said, ‘My home has a blue door and a mailbox,’ ” Andréa says.

A value-added benefit to the project was that the residents enjoyed watching Andréa at work. Residents, she says, became “an audience for the live painting process.”

Andréa also engaged residents in the project by having them help her with sanding and masking the area with tape in preparation.

“The neighbourhood door process became a live management that stimulated the residents and gave them a sense of contribution,” she says.

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