The Personhood Kit Project: Understanding People with Dementia Better

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Shelley Shillington, Director of Operations

Project Title: Facilitating Personhood for Dementia Residents in Long Term Care

What is the issue?

The qualities that define an individual are called personhood. Understanding what makes individuals unique is important, especially when caring for people with dementia since they often rely on healthcare staff to meet their needs.

What did we do?

We created special kits for individuals with advanced stages of dementia. The kits contained items reflecting their life experiences. We tested the kits with 25 residents. Our goal was to see if the kits would help increase their well-being and decrease agitation. We also aimed to improve staff satisfaction and relationships between residents and their care partners.

What did we find?

The personhood kits helped residents with dementia reminiscence and feel appreciated, valued, and understood for their individuality. Staff enjoyed working with the kits and engaging with residents in meaningful ways. Care partners reported that the kits increased resident well-being and helped them connect better with their loved ones. Since the kits were so well received, we decided to use them with all residents. We are inviting care partners of newly admitted residents to bring in materials and work together with our recreation team to build kits for their loved ones.