resident with dementia often needs an environment
geared to allow them to function at their full potential.
A large facility can be overwhelming to this resident
and abilities can decline by the inability they have
to process their thoughts. A goal to meet these
residents needs was realized in 1996, when the facility
opened the first "Special Needs Unit" in the area.
Undergoing a major expansion and renovation project,
an existing neighborhood was taken and designed into
a secure environment with 24 beds available. A dining
social area with a nurses station and bathing facilities
were added and eventually a beautiful fenced in outdoor
area with a walk path and gazebo. This became
the environment that provides security and continuity
to the resident with dementia. Though the residents
are contained, they are also able to attend off unit
functions if tolerated well. Unit staff remains the
same, faces become familiar and the resident is given
a sense of security as opposed to placement on the
main floors of the facility. Each resident entering
the unit is evaluated for appropriateness by a trained
committee of professionals. Progress is monitored
and when the resident is no longer benefiting from
the unit's environment or declines with the stages
of their disease a decision is made
perhaps move them to the main floor. The best
interest of the resident and the unit is always evaluated
must have a diagnosis of dementia
status will range from mild to moderately affected
must be ambulatory or able to be up in a wheelchair
at least 4-6 hours daily.
must be able to take an active part in at least
one of the following:
Walking (need to have freedom to wander)
family of each resident must be active in programming
(at least communicate actively with S.N.U. Team)
Medical Director, Nursing Representatives
(Director of Nursing, Assist. Director of Nursing),
Administrator, Resident Admissions Coordinator, Diversional
Therapy Director, Social Workers and family members.
a resident may meet all of the criteria,
beds may not be available on the unit. Every
effort is made to place them there as availability
Needs Unit Objectives
To maintain and maximize functional levels of residents
with dementia (alertness,
accurate sensation, strength/mobility/cogitive skills)
To allow freedom and autonomy for residents.
To provide safe and dignified care for residents.
To use the least restrictive environment.
To maximize socialization for residents.
To maintain and /or attain highest ADL skills, to
enhance physical health and to prevent depression
and to heighten self-esteem.
To create an interdisciplinary team that will make
continuity of care a reality.