Sorry, your browser is not supported by Augustana Care.

Please upgrade to IE 8 or try another browser.

Page Contents Header Image

Award-winning Multi-sensory Room

December 16, 2016

multi-sensory-JMP_2782-web.jpg

In 2016, we were honored with the Eureka! Award by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for a unique multi-sensory environment created at Emerald Crest by Augustana Care. The multi-sensory room was designed for people with Alzheimer’s and other conditions that affect memory.

Emerald Crest by Augustana Care’s commitment to people with dementia is based on a long-standing philosophy to create an environment that maximizes residents’ abilities and successes. An early version of a multisensory environment was called a “snoezelen room” and was created in the late 1970s by two Dutch therapists, Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul. They sought to promote relaxation and exploration for people with cognitive disabilities. This concept has since evolved and is starting to be used to create stimulating environments for individuals with dementia.

Emerald Crest’s new multisensory room is designed to help individuals who have difficulty understanding and organizing information they receive from their environment to receive and process incoming information in a meaningful way. Multisensory rooms can be powerful tools that help form new pathways in the brain and promote healthy, positive results, including the following:

  • Increased alertness
  • Increased attention to participate in daily care and activities
  • Decreased falls
  • Improved sleep
  • Decreased need for medications
  • Decreased wandering, agitation or repetitive speech

Family members of residents say the multisensory room is making a profound impact. One resident who heard “Amazing Grace” tapped out the rhythm to the song while watching the lights above her. The resident’s husband reported that his wife’s heightened alertness also increased her appetite.

Another resident who had not spoken for at least a year talked to staff and family members after being in the environment for only 30 minutes. When she came into the room, her fingers were curled against her chest and her head was down. Her fingers uncurled and relaxed while she was in the multisensory room and her eyes began tracking the light patterns she saw around her. She spoke very clearly when asked what she thought of the “show” she was seeing. “It’s beautiful,” she replied.

To learn more about the multi-sensory room and Emerald Crest, contact lmtran@augustanacare.org or call 952-908-2215.

Theresa Klein, one of the founders of the Emerald Crest model, joined occupational therapist Sarah Hartmann to accept the Eureka! Award for work on a unique multi-sensory room for people in memory care communities.