With a high number of dementia patients in its long-term care wing — and problems with them wandering out the front door — a Texas provider decided to try something different.
Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in New Braunfels decided to install a bus stop along one of its busiest corridors. It’s made to look as if it’s from the 1930s, with an old-fashioned wooden bench, street posts and a map of the town.
“It works because they recognize the bus stop. It’s something familiar,” says Jayna Owens, assistant director of rehab and a speech language pathologist. “In a skilled nursing facility everything is different and it’s not something they’ve seen before. It just gives them a sense of peace, helps them remember something familiar and allows them to calm down and decrease those wandering behaviors.”
Legend Oaks first got the idea after learning about the popularity of such bus stops in Germany. Owens says they are exploring adding more stops in the facility. She says the investment was minimal, at less than $500, and encourages providers to look into it.
“Really, you’re saving money for the amount of time staff is having to go back and redirect the patient,” she says. “It’s been great for our residents and the families have really enjoyed it because they’re seeing less behavior issues.”