Forest Hill revamps Snoezelen room, team members seeing positive results

Forest Hill resident Theresa Norton, left, and life enrichment aide Shannon Lynch pose with the fibre-optic waterfall in the Kanata long-term care home’s Snoezelen room.

Residents of all abilities are enjoying the calming effects the sensory room provides

It has taken more than two years of work, but Forest Hill has completed the revamp of its Snoezelen room – and residents, families and staff members are loving it.

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

Forest Hill has had its Snoezelen room since the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home opened 18 years ago, but the room needed to be modernized and stocked with new items.

So that’s what the team did.

Today, the revamped Snoezelen room offers aromatherapy, bubble tubes, a fibre-optic waterfall and activity boards, and everything is linked through a computer system that can be customized for residents.

Additionally, there’s music available through iTunes that’s geared towards specific residents. For instance, one resident is German and enjoys music in that language, so there’s German music available for that resident.

While the Snoezelen room is being used by residents of all cognitive abilities, team members are finding that residents who experience agitation are being calmed by spending time in the room enjoying the sensory activities.

“It really enriches their lives, for sure,” says life enrichment aide Shannon Lynch, who is leading the program.

While the Snoezelen room is most often used with one or two residents at a time, Shannon has also found it to be an excellent venue for larger group activities, including singalongs and trivia programs.

And it’s not just staff members who accompany residents in the Snoezelen room: volunteers and family members have also been spending time with residents enjoying the activities.

“Not only have the residents been saying they’re happy with (the Snoezelen room), family members are also telling us how impressed they are with it,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest.

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