Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 28, 2019

Dementia Care

This Tuesday we heard a presentation from Renate Sainsbury and Dorthe Flauer on the implementation of the Butterfly Approach to dementia care at their Lifestyle Options Communities locations at Whitemud and Leduc.
The Butterfly Approach was developed in the UK some twenty years ago by Dr David Sheard and his UK based organisation, Dementia Care Matters, and has spread to Canada and then to Alberta, where there are now seven accredited Butterfly Care Projects. Lifestyle Options became part of the project in 2015 and now operates two participating facilites in the Edmonton region, at Whitemud and in Leduc.  A third is currently in planning, to be located in north Edmonton, at Schonsee. All of these facilities incorporate multiple levels of seniors living, ranging from independent living apartments to studios with services designed for supportive living for people living with dementia.
The Butterfly Care Home Program involves changing the environment from being large units, sterile, colorless, empty of stuff, that are very structured and task focused, to being colorful, full of memory stimulating stuff, small living households with staff who spend more time connecting with their patients. Patients who are stimulated and engaged change from being wandering, aggressive, loud and exit seeking to being calm and happy with a much improved quality of life. Care is tailored to the experiences each patient has so that they can connect with their environment.   Staff wear normal street clothes, to help create a more homelike environment. Dining room, kitchen, household, recreation and nursing staff, who are trained extensively during the implementation of the program, are much happier and look forward to going to work each day. They are encouraged to spend more time with each patient so that they get to know their patients better. Scheduled meal times are much longer, and staff are encouraged to converse with their patients, which improves the overall mealtime experience.
Renate said that they have published the results of their experience on the Alberta Health website. They noted a decrease in the need for anti-psychotic and pain medication, a decrease in falls and also a decrease in staff sick time. There has been an increase in the well being of the people living with dementia, an increase in family engagement and an increase in staff satisfaction. Renate noted that there is a very good video made by a facility in the UK on the Butterfly Project available on you tube, entitled ‘We are Family’. She is really encouraged by the results they have seen since they started with this program, and hopes to see it implemented in many more dementia care homes in the future.