The research team found these outcomes:

For residents

  1. A decrease in agitation and an increase in activity levels.
  2. Increased number of visits from others.

For staff

  1. Medication nurse used Simple Pleasure items on her cart to give out as a diversion.
  2. One staff stocked her cleaning cart with items for residents.
  3. Aides found it useful to use items during the bathing process.
  4. Activity leaders used items as part of their programming.

For family

  1. Families viewed their visits much more positively.
  2. Families visited more often, longer, used recreational items during the visits, and were more satisfied with visits.

For volunteers

The two major groups interested in volunteering were children and retired individuals. Dementia education and monitoring of quality of the products was added to the process, which made the volunteers more vested. Over 540 volunteers were actively engaged during the study and many groups continue to make and deliver items to nursing homes.

Important Elements for a Successful Experience

  • Involvement from the nurse manager, activities director and social worker is important in order to coordinate the project across disciplines and to encourage family participation.
  • Leadership on the unit impacted staff training, attitude and compliance.
  • This intervention has the most impact when all disciplines worked together to provide comforting and familiar activities for the residents with dementia.
  • A plentiful supply of Simple Pleasures items is needed. Supplies on the unit need to be replenished frequently: when the items are visible and available, residents use them.
  • On-site training and re-training for volunteers and staff regarding the purpose and how to use items is necessary.
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