How a personalized events calendar changed the life of a Village Green resident

Village Green health-care aide Sylvia O’Brien (left) and RPN Denise Simpson (right) work on the home’s Behavioural Supports Ontario team.

Resident enjoying enhanced quality of life, thanks to simple intervention

SELBY, Ont. – Two Village Green Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team members say there are many great success stories resulting from the initiative but there is one that stands out.

Sitting down in the dining room at the Greater Napanee long-term care home with The OMNIway, health-care aide Sylvia O’Brien and registered practical nurse Denise Simpson recall the story of a resident who had spent several years in hospital before moving into Village Green.

While in hospital, the resident had spent most of her time in bed. She was dealing with mental-health issues and had been monitored by a psychiatric team in the region for many years. When she moved to Village Green, the resident had responsive behaviours and was “demanding” of staff, they recall.

So the BSO team came up with an idea. They created a calendar for the resident to follow so she would always have an agenda of things she liked to do. Sylvia and Denise sat down with the resident and asked her about the things she enjoyed, and together they made a timetable for her. Some days she would get her hair done. She could go shopping. She could have makeup applied.

It worked.

Last Christmas, the resident, accompanied by team members, was able to go to her bank, get money and shop for presents for her family. She now takes out the clothing she wants to wear each day. She has become friendly with all the staff members and no longer exhibits responsive behaviours.

In fact, the psychiatric team that had monitored the resident felt she was doing so well at Village Green they discharged her from the program.

Sylvia and Denise say having this personalized events calendar made all the difference.

“How amazing for her that she (has) that independence. She makes all the decisions; all I am is the pen and paper,” Sylvia says. “At the beginning of each month we go over the activity calendar, we make sure everything is working well with her, she picks out new activities if she wants, she tells me what she doesn’t like and we make (the calendar) accordingly.”

BSO is a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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