A creative day today. I’ve been refining the design for an interactive dry wipe board designed to support people with dementia. It’s not a medical board but I believe that the design supports the principles of Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy.
- Person centred approach
- Offering choice
- Focusing on opinions rather than facts
- Using reminiscence
- Always have a tangible focus – something to look at, touch, or feel
- Maximising potential
- Enjoyment and fun
- Stimulating language
- Strengthening the caregiving relationship
The board is designed to be owned by a person with dementia who is supported by family, friends and carers on a daily basis.
The “What’s important to me” panel is populated with practical things (2 sugars in my tea), topics of conversation (gardening, manchester city), family members (husband was David, son John, daughter Sarah) plus abilities (I can walk to the end of street). The board forms a focus and the “important” panel informs daily conversation and acts as reminder to include these things in the board owner’s activities.
The three rows for each day are intended to provide two rows for notes, creating a diary of key events, and a third row for follow up on those events. Notes can either be written (the surface is dry wipe) or populated with printed phrases or pictures using the Gecko self cling pockets which will be available in the pack. This information can be useful to have as a clear focus of what is happening each day and helps to reduce confusion and anxiety. It also helps a multi-caregiver group to help the board owner with consistency of information.
The third row is intended for keywords or phrases about those key events in order to record positive experiences. These keywords should form the basis of day to day discussions of the week e.g. how was your daughter yesterday, did you like the cake she brought?
The “Memories” panel is used for key places and names and photographs (mounted in the Gecko pockets) to stimulate conversation. The memories can be changed regularly to ensure that a range of memories are included e.g. family events, different family members, places visited, cars owned etc.
According to a UCL study of iCST (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/icst/carerinformationandsupport) time should be set aside three times a week to sit and chat with the board owner :
- Discussion of the day, date, weather, location (5 mins)
- Discussion of events in the news or current issues (5 mins)
- Main activity (20 mins)
According to the UCL study iCST is an evidence based therapy and participants report increased quality of life, relative to those receiving usual care and they typically improve on tests of memory and other abilities. The effects appear to be in addition to those of any medication the person is receiving for dementia.
Using an OurBoards is not iCST but if used along the princples outlined above will, I believe provide some of the benefits.