Small interventions can make a big difference to residents during pandemic

Riverview Manor BSO team shares some of its tools and ideas

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March, the Riverview Manor Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has been providing interventions to enhance quality of life for residents affected by cognitive impairment.

Often, these interventions are small things but they appeal to residents’ strengths and interests and keep their spirits high during what has been a challenging time.

At the beginning of the pandemic, one of the interventions BSO team members put in place was signage in residents’ rooms that let residents know they were safe and that their loved ones knew where they were.

“They were constant reminders for the residents to see for when staff members were not around, and that helped a lot,” explains registered practical nurse and Riverview Manor BSO team lead Becky Dennie.

Montessori kits, which include activities that reflect residents’ interests, have also been used since the pandemic began.

Recently, a new activity kit has been designed by the BSO team especially for new residents as well as for residents who are returning to the home from hospital and must go into isolation as a safety precaution.

The activities in the kit include clothespin matching, cutlery sorting, colouring activities, cards and sewing materials.

These are all items that can be easily sanitized between each use, explains personal support worker and BSO team member Karlie Phillips.

“We are hoping this will work well and that the staff will set this up with the residents to keep them busy as much as possible,” she says.

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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