For a Dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer, life can be confusing and distressing. Life events and memories often become a blur and a sense of knowing who you are, can vanish with this often cruel condition.
Adding to their distress is that they often feel anxious or confused and they have no control over these feelings. However, having something to occupy agitated hands can be a wonderful distraction. This is where specially made ‘sensory cushions’ are making a very big difference to some of our elderly patients in the Cognitive Assessment and Management Unit (CAMU) at Nambour Hospital.
The cushions are designed to decrease agitation, anxiousness, or calling out behaviours and can be used as a calming tool to soothe a patient when they are distressed. The items in the pockets stimulate the senses, occupy the hands and can be used as a distraction tool that focus’s the person on an activity in which they enjoy and are familiar.
Nambour Hospital Registered Nurse, Patricia Rogers said, “The cushions are great for entertaining patients when they are bed bound and gives them something of interest that is hugely supportive in their recovery”.
“When a patient becomes agitated or anxious, they need something that will take their mind of that feeling,” Ms Rogers explained.
“If they have something to play with like a sensory cushion, not only are they enhancing their senses, they are going to decrease the amount of distress they are feeling which then decreases the amount of nursing hours they need.”
The cushions have pockets in which assorted items are attached inside so they can be pulled out and played with but not removed. They provide a spectrum of sensory experiences including; visual, tactile and even auditory.
Diane Ware, who makes trauma teddies for Wishlist, alongside four others from The Kawana Quilters, got together and produced 18 cushions which were more like beautiful works of art.
Using scrap material and ‘bits and bobs,’ the ladies were able to make these cushions which are uniquely beautiful and have been lovingly handcrafted.
Caloundra Country Women’s Association committee member Bev Swindles alongside a team of four others are also sewing sensory cushions for Wishlist that will also be used in CAMU. Three have already been donated and another eight are on their way.
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