Door mural enhances space and client safety

Door mural before and after

VON Perth-Huron’s Adult Day Program (ADP) space in St. Marys was transformed this month with the addition of a bookshelf mural, applied to exit doors as part of a diversion strategy to keep clients with Alzheimer’s and dementia more safe. 

For people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, wandering can be a common behaviour. It’s caused by physical changes in the brain and may happen for a variety of reasons, such as being over- or under-stimulated, feeling uncomfortable, bored or confused, experiencing medication side effects, hallucinations or delusions, and much more.

Wandering can put the individual at great risk if, for example, they are unable to find their way back, or end up outside in traffic or unsafe weather conditions. It can also be stressful, frightening and frustrating for caregivers. 

As a proactive measure to reduce risk in long-term care homes, hospitals and other care environments, murals and activity-based backdrops have become a popular way to disguise doors and elevators and add elements of interest to hallways, walls and windows. The backdrops can also help with memory impairment, social engagement, and stress reduction.

“We have already noticed our clients going toward the exit doors less frequently and becoming more interested in our daily programming, improving their engagement and reducing feelings of agitation. We are so pleased with the result,” said Sheri Gilhula, Manager of Home and Community Care, Community Support Services.

The mural was generously gifted to the ADP by Creative Art Co., a local company that specializes in solutions for dementia care environments.