Handmade Busy Squares offer tactile stimulation and comfort for ACE Unit patients with dementia
Hospitalization of individuals with dementia is often associated with agitation and anxiety. This can be brought on by illness, change in environment, unfamiliar care providers, and inability to communicate needs, pain, and/or discomfort.
Using items that engage patients from a tactile perspective has been shown to decrease agitation and anxiety. The staff on the ACE Unit came up with a creative way to provide comfort to their patients by using “Busy Squares.”
Busy Squares are a sensory tools, made with four small squares of colorful material. Each square provides a tactile experience for the recipient — large buttons, netting, satin, ribbons, lace, or soft fur-like material help the patient connect with their sense of touch.
We contacted our Auxiliary department and found Suzanne Kirk, who was happy to create the Busy Squares. “As one who enjoys handcrafting activities, I appreciate the opportunity to apply my creative energies to making an item I hope will be helpful to someone going through a difficult time,” says Suzanne. “In designing Busy Squares, I try to incorporate a variety of colors, textures and patterns. It is rewarding to be able to craft these to help brighten a patient’s day.”
Pictured above, an ACE patient and her husband (shown with Arianna Harman, RN, Busy Square crafter Suzanne Kirk, and Maeve Morrisey, PCT) benefit from using Busy Squares. -Danette Readling, BSN, RN, CMSRN, RN-BC