I recently read an interesting article by Paula Span writing for the New York Times, regarding dementia units at skilled nursing facilities.
There are various euphemistic names applied to these units, including: the reminiscence neighborhood and homestead.
These types of units have spread throughout American nursing homes, where more than 16 percent of nursing homes now include one.
The idea was to provide a calm and secure environment where special attention would be given to residents with particular behavioral or elopement issues as a result of their clinical condition.
Mrs. Span goes on to posit that the “research” shows some “intriguing findings” but nothing that offers declarative proof that these units are better for those with tendencies to wander or who are obstreperous.
I read the entirety of the article and find it difficult to see how she argues her position given the plethora of documented studies to the contrary.
It is interesting to note that an entirely different argument is made concerning dementia units. There are studies which suggest that dementia units can have an adverse effect on residents, in that it cultivates and affects a different quality of life.
The point is, much of this is hardly conclusive and there is a great degree of variability between dementia programs and facilities offering dementia units.
At Regency Nursing Centers for example, we create a highly individualized program to serve our dementia residents and their families with singular compassion and dedication.
This is a completely holistic approach. It is not a rigid ‘one size fits all’ framework, where dementia is treated as an isolated and static diagnosis.
Our experience has shown that by effectively integrating our dementia residents within the fabric of our program, actually lessens the speed at which segregation seems to accelerate their loss of independence.
For more information on our dementia programs, visit us at www.RegencyNursing.com