Forest Hill revamping Snoezelen room to better meet residents’ needs

Staff plans to use Snoezelen interventions to prevent agitation as well as teach families how they can use the room

Forest Hill has been busy revamping its Snoezelen room to better meet residents’ needs, and staff members say they’re planning to have the freshly renovated room completed in the coming weeks.

Once the Snoezelen room reopens, life enrichment staff members say they want to use the room to prevent agitation and responsive behaviours in residents affected by cognitive impairment as well as teach residents’ families and friends how they can engage their loved ones using the room.

Snoezelen rooms are controlled areas that provide sensory stimulation for people with dementia and other neurological conditions. The rooms are stocked with a variety of items that provide people comfort and stimulation.

People living with dementia often find Snoezelen rooms comforting and they help prevent agitation.

Forest Hill has had its Snoezelen room since the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home opened 16 years ago, but team members say the room needed to be modernized with a facelift and stocked with new items.

“We’re in the midst of renovating the room now and we want to get it freshly painted and we’re excited to get (it) up and running shortly … and I’m really looking forward to using the tools we have (bought),” life enrichment aide Shannon Lynch tells The OMNIway.

Some of the new “tools” include gadgets aimed to engage specific people’s interests. For instance, there are trinkets related to plumbing and carpentry to meet the interest of several of the home’s male residents who were tradesmen.

The new Snoezelen room will also include a flat-screen TV, a CD player and fibre-optic lights.

Most of the items in the original Snoezelen room were bought at garage sales or were donated to the home many years ago. However, research into Snoezelen rooms has helped long-term care homes identify items most useful to people living with dementia, so Forest Hill has recently bought new tools and furnishings based on that information.

“We’re going to have fibre-optic lights hanging from the ceiling and there will be aroma therapy and audio therapy,” explains life enrichment aide Craig Forrest.

“We are really looking forward to (the Snoezelen room) opening.”

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