What are the specialised design features of St Georges Nursing Home and why are they so important? Many dementia sufferers like to walk for hours on end and become very agitated and confused if their pathway is blocked. The way St Georges Nursing Home has overcome this is to provide a continuous walkway around our four corridors, and in our central garden. Residents are able to walk for as long as they like without encountering any physical obstructions.
If residents wish to go outside in to the garden during daylight hours, they can simply walk straight out to enjoy the fresh air and freedom that our garden affords.
Now let us examine what can happen, and is so often happening, in homes that do not incorporate these design features. When Dementia sufferers wish to walk but are prevented from doing so they become increasingly anxious and agitated. Similarly, if residents simply wish to go outside in to the fresh air but are prevented from doing so due to a home not having suitable facilities, again this leads to an increase in anxiety , agitation,confusion and aggressive behaviour. Unfortunately this behaviour is then managed with the use of Medication – the so called chemical cosh.
In February, Fiona Phillips – the former GMTV presenter – wrote an article in the Daily Mail about such disturbing behaviour.
I am so angry at the way my lovely, lovely dad was treated at the end. In his final weeks he was so coshed by drugs that his poor body couldn’t cope.
They robbed him of his laughter, then his smile, which was all that he had got left, and I am absolutely furious about that. Then they robbed him of his life.
That is what is keeping me awake at night now, it’s the anger. Without the powerful drugs they used to sedate him he could have had another few years.
Sophie Borland goes on to say:
More than a quarter of elderly people with dementia are being given dangerous ‘chemical cosh’ drugs, researchers warn.
Doctors are prescribing anti-psychotics to patients for two or more years even though they are only meant to be taken for a maximum of three months – and then only as a last resort.
Antipsychotics are tranquillisers that are designed to treat hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.
But researchers from the University of Manchester have found that in most cases they are just being given to sedate elderly patients to stop them from wandering off or becoming confused and anxious.
The use of such medication is highly disturbing as there are unpleasant side effects and sedation which can often result in falls and fractures. Also there is now increasing evidence that some of the drugs used also lead to premature death.
So many of these serious issues can be prevented with thoughtful design such as we have here at St Georges Nursing Home.