Riverview Manor BSO team trialling innovative chair to chart its impact preventing agitation

So far, 9 of 11 residents have experienced decreased agitation. The residents are also providing favourable feedback

The Riverview Manor Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team is in the process of trialling an innovative chair to help prevent agitation in residents affected by cognitive impairment.

The Peterborough long-term care home has a Wellness Nordic Relax Chair on loan for the next couple of weeks to test its benefits with residents who experience agitation.

The chair, which looks similar to a dentist’s chair, has three sets of rocking cycles to provide stimulation as well as a built-in audio system that plays music through the headrest. There is also a weighted blanket people can put on their laps for an added comfort measure.

Residents can simply close their eyes and relax in the chair or, if they prefer, they can read a book or watch TV.

So far, 11 residents have tried the chair and nine of the residents showed a decrease in agitation after spending time in it, says Riverview Manor BSO team lead Becky Dennie.

“We will continue to trial it for another week or so and … we will review all of the information and data and submit that to (Riverview administrator) Mary Anne (Greco) to see if it’s worthwhile purchasing,” Becky says.

Personal support worker and BSO team member Karlie Phillips has been involved with the trial and says she has seen positive results from residents first-hand.

“They loved it; they thought it was great,” she says. “Some of them fell asleep, some of them sat there quietly, and afterwards the ones that were successful with it went to the activity room or to the lounge area and sat quietly doing activities.”

Another BSO team member, registered practical nurse Carly Kenny, notes that family members have also been giving the Wellness Nordic Relax Chair the thumbs-up.

“One family member wanted her mother trialled in it, and she found it calming – then her daughter tried it and thought it was great,” Carly says.

Residents who have used the Wellness Nordic Relax Chair have also been giving their opinions.

“This was very relaxing,” said one resident who is often exit-seeking.

A resident who often paces said the chair was “wonderfully warm.”

“I might steal it to rock myself to sleep,” joked one resident who used the chair because they were bored.

A resident who was slightly agitated before a shower stated, “I like it. I’m not going home. I’m staying here. Thank you”

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

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