Realistic looking murals have made a big difference in the Grandview dementia unit at Shorncliffe- as residents no longer linger at doorways, repeatedly testing to see if they’ll open.
The only exit from the unit now resembles a bookcase adorned with more than 100 books and a few knickknacks, thanks to the expert skill of local painter Dean Schutz who took on the project this past spring.
“One of the things that’s common in those with dementia is door testing and exit seeking,” said Lauren Tindall, Sunshine Coast director of clinical services for Vancouver Coastal Health. “This mural allows for a natural redirection and a constant flow. Where patients used to stop at the door, now they tend to move beyond it.”
The mural continues past the doorway to include a realistic looking potted plant and a window framing a sunny ocean scene.
Marina McBride, manager of residential care at Shorncliffe, said the murals have helped to create a more calm and relaxed feeling in the dementia unit.
“It’s something a lot of dementia units are doing as part of the Eden philosophy,” she said, explaining the philosophy calls for creating a “calm home-like environment,” in dementia wards.
She was pleased that Schutz was able to do the detailed artwork, noting that many other facilities simply put up bookcase wallpaper.
“It was really nice to know that your work not only makes it more of a home environment, but it has a positive effect on reducing stress and making [the residents’] lives better,” Schutz said.
So far residents have just viewed the realistic artwork, but haven’t tried to take any books off the bookshelf.
“I think it might be because they don’t have any names on them,” McBride added.