St. Mary patients find tranquility with a Distraction Station

CHERRY HILL — St. Mary’s Catholic Home, a long-term facility with most senior residents 80 and older, has implemented an interactive program to help those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Allison Burton, director of activities at St. Mary’s, said, “We recently purchased the Vecta Distraction Station which delivers a multi-sensory environment to those residents who can no longer experience the tranquil outdoor environment they once enjoyed.”

Burton noted that “many of our residents, who are past the age of 80, suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Both diseases are progressive and irreversible neurological disorders that affect a person’s ability to understand sensory information.”

She explained that the mission and philosophy of the home’s activity department is to “promote recreative participation for our residents through a variety of activity programs that embrace residents’ interests and needs regardless of age, cognition, or physical status.”

The Vecta station, which is portable and can be moved from room to room, utilizes what Burton calls “multi -sensory items as a bubble column which is controlled by the resident, a projector, fiber optics, music, and aromatherapy so our residents can receive the most advanced and state of the art sensory experience.”

The station’s portability allows the staff to control the amount of stimuli a patient can receive, Burton pointed out.

“With this tool a resident suffering from pain or dementia can enjoy images of airplanes, flowers, butterflies, and nature scenes as they are projected onto an adjacent wall,” the activities director explained. “This type of activity has been proven to distract difficult behavior and manage pain when other attempts to calm have failed.”

Burton claims there have been improvements in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“Residents who typically show little response to stimuli have been found squeezing the tactile ball which results in bubbles coming up through the column,” she said. “This response to stimuli is showing that use of the Vecta station seems to be providing a positive outcome for many of our residents and their quality of life.”

St. Mary’s Catholic Home in Cherry Hill is a long term care facility with 215 residents.

For more information about St. Mary’s and the Vecta Distraction Station call 856-874-5308.

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