Follow the Research
The quality of life for residents living with moderate to severe levels of dementia depends largely on the quality of care provided by a team of care professionals, including therapeutic recreationists, activation specialists, personal support workers, and family members. From the onset, it has been our aim to ensure that the technological approaches we develop supports these true heroes – our front-line care practitioners.
Dementia is a significant quality of care challenge for our time, the magnitude of affects growing as our society ages. As there is presently no cure for dementia, care-giving focus currently gravitates around interventions that maintain, provide, and promote quality of life and well-being for those who live with dementia. People who live with moderate to severe levels of dementia will reside in LTC facilities as they require an advanced level of trained intervention, in a supportive environment that would be impractical to deliver in home care. Many people living with dementia in LTC environments are under-stimulated and socially isolated. While there has been an increase in activities and programming based on occupational therapy, recreational therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy, and so on, such programs can cover only a fraction of the day for people with dementia. The result is that many people with dementia who are institutionalized will spend most of the day either in their rooms or wandering the hallways. A related problem is that people with dementia often have difficulty with social interactions and may become anxious or aggressive around people they do not recognize, or in situations they do not understand. Resulting behavioural disturbances may lead to drug medication/ overmedication, physical restraints, and poor quality of life (QoL). Conversations with front-line caregivers that include therapeutic recreationists, PSW’s and family members indicate that the number one and immediate concern for caregivers is managing disruptive, disturbing, and agitated behaviours.
Manifestations of disturbing behaviour associated with moderate to severe levels of dementia, such as wandering, hitting and verbal abuse, and disrobing have been consistently related to caregiver burden in
LTC environments. The need to attend to agitated behaviours in these environments is immediate, 24/7, and always takes priority. Complicating matters is a demographic shift towards an aging population that implies fewer younger people will be available to attend to the needs of an aging society.
Along the way we have partnered with academic institutions and research foundations across Canada to conduct both formal and informal research assessments, to ensure that we are providing evidence-based solutions that provide meaningful support and real value to entire care community.
Journeys to Engagement
University of Toronto 2017-2018
ABBY®‘s ability to manage responsive behaviours has been assessed in six long-term care homes across Ontario. In a research evaluation conducted by the University of Toronto over an eight-month period in 2017-18, a variety of outcomes, including resident aggression, agitation, depression, cognition, use of anti-psychotic medication, as well as staff strain and family/visitor satisfaction were measured.
IN THE MEDIA
CTV's Craig Momney, covers the partnership between Ambient Activity Technologies and the University of Toronto and benefits of ABBY® in long term care facilities.
Nicole Brander, Recreational Therapist in Didsbury, Alberta, speaks about Ambient Activity Technologies products, ABBY® and GENIE®.
Trainee profile: Dr. Andrea Wilkinson is working on a system of interactive activities for long-term care residents with dementia. The AGE-WELL trainee is postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Toronto.
“We are thrilled to have the Abby Board available to us during our visits with our gramma/great-gramma. I can’t say enough about how this resource has impacted our visits each week. It has been a great addition each Sunday when we bring her great grandchildren to see her. This sensory tool/board has provided us with a great opportunity to interact and share tasks together. In particular, I was so overwhelmed with my grandmothers confidence and familiarity with manipulating the board. It is remarkable to see her take on the “teaching” role with her 4&5 year old great grandchildren as she is able to recall week after week the various activities that are available and then demonstrate them to the kids so that they can use them with her. She is so proud to talk about her own pictures that rotate on the screen. As a granddaughter I am so appreciative that this resource exists for her, especially because the board is pre-loaded with tailored material geared towards her interests. She comes alive when she hears her favorite music, we all get to enjoy the clapping and smiles as she sings along and watch the kids dance their silly dances for her. Thank you so much to all the team at Gilmore Lodge for facilitating this resource and to whomever funded this initiative, we are tremendously grateful! Thanks again,
P.S. My grandfather at 92 enjoys the pictures on the board to use as a reminiscing tool with his wife, when my mother takes him every Tuesday to visit her! "
– Naomi, Fletcher & Jasper O’Brien
“My husband takes please in showing our family pictures on ABBY to visiting family and friends.”
– Eleanor Villeneuve
“ABBY is a nice way to enjoy our own personal photos and music that Nancey and I have enjoyed together”
– Frank Kubena
"The ABBY is wonderful. I love how personalized it can be. So interactive . You can really see the joy it brings seeing pictures of your friend and family and listening to your favourite music. I wish there was a ABBY where my grandma is staying."
"On behalf of the residents, REC staff and Nursing Staff…… THANK YOU for ALL your support, wisdom, research and guidance in assisting me with receiving (2) TWO ABBYS for our Drayton Valley and Breton LTC sites.
Had to submit (resubmit) the request 3 times due to changes in protocol but I don’t have to tell you guys what it takes to get one of these precious treasures! LOL
The feedback has been astounding! The staff and residents love them.
We are so elated and overjoyed. Grateful beyond words to the DV Hospital Auxiliary and Foundation.
Thank you both for all your help.
We are all very grateful
I hope you and your families are healthy and are doing well thru this insanely painstaking pandemic.
Our AABYs couldn’t have arrived at a better time."
– Susan Larsen
"Thank you very much for all of your support.
We started with one ABBY board, and have added three more since then.
We have two in the corridors on our “dementia unit” and we find these are wonderful for the residents.
Some will notice them as they pass by and simply begin to engage with the activities. Usually listening to music, or driving with the steering wheel.
Others will have time with the ABBY board as a part of their regular activity and they sit at the appropriate activities that are set up by the staff for that resident.
We now have ABBY boards on all of our floors and we do find the same results.
ABBY provides activity and distraction that can be led by the residents and it brightens up their day.
We see marked results in improving responsive behaviours and they also help in de-escalating behaviours at specific times.
The staff also enjoy the addition of some music on the floors and have reported improved resident satisfaction.
p.s. They have been used so much during this pandemic as well."
– Janette West, Executive Director, APANS Health Services, Grace Villa
Finding meaningful and appropriate activity for PLWD is challenging due to the varied interests and abilities of each individual and the time constraints, lack of resources and knowledge long term care staff experience. Utilizing a built in ability focused activity like ABBY results in increased resident engagement and enables staff to optimize resident participation through preloaded, person centered activities. These activities consist of music, videos, games, nurturing and occupation based activities that promote freedom of choice, reminiscing, movement, and a sense of well-being through simple, logical and familiar leisure pursuits.
I have been utilizing ABBY for several years as an approach addressing resident boredom and behavioural responses. I have observed positive outcomes; such as, increased staff autonomy when mitigating challenging behaviours, increased staff/resident interactions and increased knowledge of resident’s life history and preferences for leisure pursuits.
Never underestimate the effect simple activities have on resident engagement. G1 products aim to engage residents in simple problem solving, movement and occupation based activities that may be used therapeutically or recreationally. G1 products are built into the environment enhancing the opportunity for resident engagement because they have a simple, intuitive design and are available 24/7 for resident activity. Residents are naturally curious about the tasks associated with each activity and they experience a sense of satisfaction once they complete the activity. I have found the G1 products to be functionally pleasing in layout and colour and they have proven to be effective activities for residents who are looking for in-the-moment engagement.
If I learn nothing more from the effects this pandemic has on elders the one thing I will never forget is the social isolation felt by residents when separated from family. Cultivating ways to support family connectedness has been time and staffing intensive because most elders are not social media savvy resulting in poorly coordinated virtual visits, lack of elder engagement and delayed responses. Genie is designed with tech-based families and non-tech elders in mind. Families utilize an APP which is conveniently downloaded to their phone allowing them to send in the moment media, messages and videos to their loved one who easily retrieves them through a simple, four step process. Elders are able to save, review and even respond to the media enhancing that sense of connectedness with family.
I have found Genie’s simple layout and design gives users a sense of confidence to access and respond to their messages with very little cuing required. I am looking forward to using Genie to address social connectedness between family/friends and our residents in rural Ontario experiencing pandemic restrictions during the winter months."
CLEANING & DISINFECTING
Ambient Activity products are designed to be easily cleaned and disinfected.
Surfaces are easily accessible to disinfectant cleaning products.
No accessible small pieces or loose parts.
Ambient Activity coatings are an industrial two component urethane to withstand the constant cleaning of hospital grade disinfectant solutions used in healthcare environments. See ‘Cleaning’
Ambient Activity coatings contain the antimicrobial treatment Isothiazolinone (2-N-Octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one), an antibacterial and antifungal additive that reduces the spread of microbial organisms that would otherwise live on the surface of products.
Cleaning means Washing + Disinfecting.
Washing and disinfecting Ambient Activity products should be done regularly, as required by frequency of use, and included in the facilities cleaning routine. It is important to include the routine cleaning of your activity in the routine cleaning of your general facility.
Ambient Activity products may be washed on a regular basis to remove grim, dirt, dust, grease, or messy fingerprints with any non-abrasive all-purpose detergent cleaner, such as vinegar and water, Windex, Mr. Clean, etc.
Solvent spirits or paint thinners may be used to clean greasy areas, pen or crayon marks, or other problem areas, providing that you rinse afterward with warm, clean water to remove residue solvent.
Disinfectant cleaning solutions should be used on a regular, and as needed basis, to remove and reduce the spread of microbes from product surfaces. Disinfectant cleaners are one-step cleaning and disinfecting solutions used in health care and food processing facilities, homes, schools, offices, hospitals, and retail facilities. The primary disinfectant is usually either a Quat (quaternary ammonium compound), or hydrogen peroxide. These products are either concentrates that require dilution, or ready to use.
Suitable disinfectant cleaning solutions tested on Ambient Activity coatings include;
Clorox HP disinfecting wipes
Virox HP disinfecting wipes
AIRX44 disinfecting cleaning solution
Oxivir Plus cleaning solution
Perdium cleaning solution
A solution of 7-parts water to 1-part bleach solution may also be used to disinfect product surfaces.
Do not use a 100% bleach solution directly from the container to wash or disinfect. Do not use abrasive cleaners.
Do not use boiling water or steam.
Safe … and safety tested
Ambient Activity products are safety tested to comply with the relevant regulations for the jurisdiction in which they will be used. Generally, jurisdictions (countries) will provide product safety guidelines that provide requirements for public use. Amongst other concerns, these regulations will provide standards for head and neck entrapments, finger entrapments, tip over and balance issues, torque and tension issues, small parts, sharp points, edges and protrusions, as well as toxicity (heavy metals) and flammability concerns. In Canada, Ambient Activity products are tested and conform to regulations CRC.c931 amended.