Maplewood brings back innovative intervention after successfully reducing resident’s anxiety

Weighted blanket has the feel of a gentle hug

When a Maplewood resident recently began experiencing agitation, one of the Brighton long-term care home’s life enrichment aides (LEAs) put their arm around the resident for comfort and the resident became calm.

Seeing the positive impact this had on the resident, some team members remembered the home had a weighted blanket specially designed to provide a feeling of comfort to people with cognitive impairment who experience agitation.

The blanket is shaped like a bear rug and weighs only a few pounds, but it provides sensory stimulation similar to a hug. Team members offered it to the resident, who became elated with the blanket, cradling the bear head in her hands.

“It worked wonderfully,” says Rachel Corkery, Maplewood’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator. “It was really beneficial to that resident.”

Despite being heavier than most blankets, weighted blankets do not pose a safety issue for people, Rachel notes.

The blanket was purchased by Maplewood several years ago to help one resident. Unfortunately, the intervention at the time didn’t work and the blanket was shelved.

But given the positive result the team recently achieved with the blanket, Rachel says staff will consider using it again if this resident or others experience agitation in the future.

She adds that interventions like this are not one-size-fits-all approaches. Each resident has a unique set of needs, and an intervention that works for one resident may not work for someone else, she notes.

Still, the success team members achieved with the blanket means they’re going to keep it at the ready, Rachel says.

“It was nice to work our way through that, to think of a solution and see that it worked,” she says. “We saw a reduction in anxiety. We are going to keep trying that.”

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.