Terra Osbourne

November 2, 2012
A medical professional helping an elderly patient with rehab.

Terra Osbourne, DCCCP
The Summit at Park Hills
Director of Well Being

We had a resident move into our Memory Care from another Assisted Living Facility in July 2012. Her niece and nephew were upset with the care the resident had been given at that facility. The resident was withdrawing, and wouldn’t allow the staff to bathe her or help her much with ADL’s. The family felt she always stunk, her hair was matted and dirty, and she didn’t have much quality of life because she wasn’t participating in any activities either. She was a woman with Middle Stage Dementia living in an assisted living environment that wasn’t trained to help enhance the lives of those living with dementia. This resident had a lot of anxiety when she moved into our Memory Care.

She wanted to go “home.” She wanted us to call her family to let them know where she was because “nobody knew where she was.” She constantly asked where she was and when she was going to get out of here. At first she wouldn’t allow any staff member to assist her with ADL’s, bathing, or dressing. She would NOT participate in activities. She would sit in a chair in the living room and just watch or close her eyes during the activity. She paced and paced but it was different. It wasn’t in and out of everyone’s room or all over the community. She paced and started breathing heavy wherever people were while asking the same questions. The CPI training that we provided to the staff helped them to back off when needed allowing her to trust us in her time. Plus, the fact we used her life story provided by the family in all of these areas.

We knew what she liked to drink, what kind of music to put on in the dining room, she liked doing chores, etc. Little by little we were starting to breakthrough with this resident. It started with “sink” baths and only certain people were permitted to assist with those. You had to be clever and hand the wash cloth, soap, towel, etc. through the bathroom door. After all, she was a Southern Baptist. We would crack the bathroom door enough to watch her perform her ADL’s and she did. We first started washing her hair while she was reclining on her recliner in her room with no wash shampoo. Then she would go into the bathroom and pin her up the way she always wore it. The staff started asking her to “help” in the kitchen.

Whether it was sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, or wiping down the counters she started to want to help more. She had a resident at her table that needed more assistance during meals and she assisted him with verbal cues and tactile sometimes. She loved to garden so we spent many days on the back patio gardening or in the rocking chairs rocking. About 6 weeks later we truly had a new resident. Her family was able to come and go. She was participating in anything we were doing. She was automatically setting the tables or sweeping the floors. She was singing to the old traditional hymns and we did that daily. We were high-fiving because some of the staff was able to get her in the shower. During 3rd shift she was getting up for them and going to the bathroom.

She was waving to all of us that she knew when we were coming in for our shift. There were times that she was asking us not to leave…her anxiety went away. Her family came for Thanksgiving and had the best visit. They told us they couldn’t believe this was the same person. She fell, broke an arm, and went to the hospital and when she came back she acted like she had been with us forever! She missed us…and we all could tell. This resident isn’t with us any longer. However, she is a huge success story of our Dementia Capable Care. It takes a community to care for our residents and give them purpose while diagnosed with dementia. We gave her a purpose.

Learn more about Dementia Capable Care.

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