THE ACTIVITY DOSE – Activity and attention as a treatment.
Aktivitetsdosetten or the Activity Dose is a non-profit organization helping elderly in care homes to have a meaningful life through individually tailored activities.
Our vision is that the Activity Dose will be a nationally and internationally recognized method that, through systematic use, reduces medication consumption and improves quality of life.
Patients in long term care are often facing passive and monotonous days. Combined with pharmaceuticals, very little stimulation and lack of meaningful activities it can lead to depression and poor quality of life. The activities that goes on are often group activities and it seems its always the same group of people who attend, leaving the others passive and neglected behind.
We believe It is possible to change this pattern and using activities as a treatment and living every moment to the very end. The activities prescribed in the Activity Dose can be physical, social or cognitive. The important thing is to find what interests the resident.
In health care there has been a huge development in terms of medical treatment, technical aid etc. but there has been a lack of creativity and the importance of having a meaningful life. It is the same weekly activities that has been on the agenda for years. Like reading the newspaper or playing bingo. We also tend to bias old people to enjoy the same kind of music.
To do things that you enjoy even when you are in the last part of your life should be a human right. In order to make that come true you have to know the person and search for the special moments. People in long term care often lack the ability to speak out their rights and desires so the health staff has to be their spokesman.
This is how it works:
The nursing home sign a membership and the staff are trained to use the method and how to map the residents previous and present interests. A special form is used with 28 different activity suggestions.
If the resident isn’t able to answer due to dementia the activities are tried out to observe the reaction.
Another form is filled out by the staff to map the behaviour and needs for the resident involving the diagnose etc. Each resident has a defined goal for the Activity Dose the same way as we have with medication. It can be to reduce boredom and depression, increase better sleep, less agitation, less passiveness, increase activity of daily living etc.
The Activity Dose is being made in cooperation with the resident. It is a physical plan witch is hung on the wall in the residents room. One or two activities are being chosen to start with and put on the timetable. All is documented in the electronic journal. Relatives or volunteers are involved to participate in doing the activity. The plan is being evaluated every 3 month.
3 times a year all Activity Docs from 2-3 care homes meet up with employer from the Activity Dose. The plans are being evaluated and new ideas are being presented. Storytelling as a method to promote what is working and motivate to more good examples. Less medication, bigger smiles, less agitation and passive days. A plan for next time is made. These meetings are crucial for the implementation. After 2 years it is natural part of routines.
Once a year all activity docs meet for an annual gathering to celebrate the good work that’s been done, presenting results and good stories. New tools are handed out.
The Activity Dose moves the responsibility for the life quality of the elderly out of the hands of the nursing staff alone. Through its systematic use of activity in treatment and the daily schedules of the elderly, it is creating new opportunities for family members, friends, and volunteers to interact with their loved ones. Simultaneously the elderly feel a new sense of control and entitlement to their own life, and the staff enjoys a more meaningful work and impact.
Benefits for the care home
- a system that meets the authorities’ requirements for individual care
- ensuring quality from guidance and measurements
- inspiration and ideas for new activities
- an attractive living and workplace
Benefits for the staff
- increased competence and responsibility
- a more interesting and meaningful working day
- strengthened interdisciplinary cooperation
- use your personal skills and increased empathy
Benefits for the residents
- a good and fulfilling day based on life story and personal interest
- more activity and less use of pharmaceuticals
- more autonomi and responsibility
Benefits for the relatives
- meaningful visits
- opportunity to get involved
- greater insight in the resident’s life