Personalisation and personalised signage
Personalisation is a valuable strategy for any care home. It's part of the home-making process for the individual to have their personal space. It's important to have that sense of ownership and that something belongs to you and no-one else. Clearly indicating this personal space reinforces the sense of 'home' and also helps to 'protect' it from anyone else mistaking it as theirs. Making a personal space clearly identifiable to the owner reinforces their confidence and helps to make it their sanctuary and their place of safety.
There are some basic design requirements in-keeping with our design principles that should be observed within a residents room. These are an appropriate colour and contrast scheme which should also be echoed in the bedding and furnishings to make an attractive, practical environment. The lighting should also be excellent, ideally with dimmable LED's so appropriate light levels can be adjusted as may be required. Other than this, the residents should be encouraged to make their space their own with additional furniture, trinkets, pictures and so on.
Personalised design has a greater role to play in getting the resident to their room in the first place. Having observed the wider orientation strategies within the home, residents should be able to find their way 'home' and then they need to confidently identify their own room.
Memory Boxes, when correctly used, are an ideal landmark that adds interest to a corridor, provides some interesting background on the owner, and reliably informs the owner they have arrived at their room. Additional products such as personalised signage is further, valuable reinforcement. Individual door decor which can be easily created using Door-cals, and the addition of door furniture all add to the sense of 'home'.
Thoughtfully executed as part of a wider design scheme, these are proven strategies that support confidence and independence whilst adding character and interest and all in a tasteful, attractive way.
More importantly, strategies like this give people the confidence to leave their room and move around the home. A sterile home without distinctive features is a terrible place to live with a dementia as residents are immobilised by their fear of being lost. There are beautiful hotel-style homes where residents can't engage with the environment because of this entirely rational fear.
Food for thought on bedroom signage:
We tend refer to residents rooms where personalised signage is concerned. For all that a residents home may be a room with a bed, it isn't really a Bedroom as such. Only teenagers live in bedrooms!
So we offer a range of signage which provides the option of not having the word 'Bedroom' on it. This may be more respectful and acceptable to some residents. The important components in the sign are the picture and title that are added to the it. The title could be someone's name, possibly a maiden name if that's what they prefer. Or just a first name. Alternatively it could be Rose Cottage, or 18 Smithy Lane. If it's readily recognised, then it's right. The same goes for the picture. It doesn't need to be a photo of the resident necessarily just something they reliably recognise. Taking the trouble to ensure the signage is as appropriate as possible provides enormous comfort to the owner.
Using a photograph of a resident in their bedroom sign may often occur because managers see this as a way to help temporary or new staff and visitors to identify the resident. There's some merit in this but it doesn't necessarily work for the resident who often may not recognise their own image. We suggest using a dedicated display of residents photo's to help staff and visitors put names to faces. Also, on occasions residents can be mistaken for a visitor and vice verse, so a photo display can help to avoid these issues too.