Peel Longterm Care: Butterfly Project


When I first came, it was the setting
that I’m accustomed to seeing in long-term care. People sitting in boredom
in front of a television with very little interaction between staff and
people who live here. My head aunt was very vicious with the staff and patients
in there. She would attack them. Why she was lost to the point where she
constantly reminded me “I have no home.” I don’t feel like I’m going to a
facility anymore, it’s just feel like a home. This program
you know that they are not dead inside. There’s something inside of them.
Butterfly program just pop. I have more freedom to hug and to kiss, and I love it but I see a miracle at work every day. For every five years we live past age 65
our chances of developing dementia double. Up to 80% of people living in
Peel long-term care now could qualify for a diagnosis of dementia and in the
next five years the Region of Peel is projected to have one of the highest
rates of dementia in the province. Dementia is the epidemic of our times. We
do not have any cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia in general at this point. Pacing, agitation, outbursts even aggression result as a person’s ability
to communicate fails and their needs go unmet including the need for engagement,
companionship, affection. As you walk through the halls, as you walk through
the homes of the people who live here you know that clinically we got it but
there was always something missing. In March of 2017 the Region of Peel
partnered with Dementia Care Matters from the UK for the first Ontario pilot
of the Butterfly Household model of care. At its core is the individual and a
recognition that people with dementia still have strong feelings, emotional
connections to the lives they have lived and they are still very much alive and
living in the moment. The shift started with language not tasks but moments, not patients – people, not a facility or institution but a house, a home. Staff members traded in their scrubs for
regular clothes. They spent time learning about the people in their care and then
they began to fill the home with things of meaning. Things with intimate
connections to the people living here. We had a number of people
that would pace would pace and by the dinner time these people were exhausted. So we’d start to see responsive behaviors. They’ll move between the colors and they’ll stop
because of that sharp contrast. It is about allowing people the ownership, the
empowerment to do their work but to do it with the human touch. To do it with
their hearts and not just with their minds. This is people life we’re
talking about. Making them happy, making them comfortable,
making them feel loved. Because they have dementia
doesn’t mean they’re dead. They’re still alive. They still need everything that they used to. Everybody wants to be loved and respected, they want to be busy and been doing
meaningful things. Quite often he comments on you know I cannot play music
the way I used to. But you’re still playing music because what happens
is that I sing and he plays. They still have life. They still
can laugh and talk to you. Good conversations too. Before that I just feel like communion just
work at home but I feel as if I’m coming to chat with my family. When I see these individuals I find them
to be in a calmer place. I find them to be in a happier place. It really brought
the residents back to life, it brought the staff back to life. What we are
establishing is a place that they want to come to work It is important to get this right
because if we don’t you must remember that the statistic says that dementia
will come and find us all. I am not afraid of getting or live in a
retirement home IF they’re gonna have this program. Everybody is so alive. They’re not just people that are left
there to rot in the corner. They’re being actively involved, and that’s wonderful, that’s what I would want. You have no idea the joy. When I think about sometime
I have to cry and say oh my God I have seen with success in Butterfly. These are
people who have given so much to others in terms of their family, our society. Why
shouldn’t they have the best quality of life and I really think this model
brings that out for them, their families, staff and our sector

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