Butterfly Project Success
Role play, arts, crafts and even a rousing choir are just some of the ways in which people living with dementia are securing exceptional care from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
The standard and quality of that care was marked this week – Dementia Awareness Week – when Danymynydd in Porth became the second Council care home to secure the highest-possible award in the Butterfly Project.
A tea party was held at the home for residents, their friends and family to celebrate the success in achieving a Level One Status in the Butterfly Project, a ground-breaking approach to the care of those with Dementia.
There was tea and cakes, as well as singing and dancing at the friendly home.
The Butterfly Project creates an environment in which those with Dementia are allowed to feel comfortable and can mark or relive any stage of their life, supporting them to enjoy happy memories and experiences.
Decorated in bright, stimulating colours with social features such as a sweet shop and bar to keep residents engaged and integrated, the care home is filled with “props” such as dolls, dressing up clothes and work-related items so the residents can relive their lives – from being a mum or a teenager to sweeping the floors.
Staff have removed uniforms and wear colourful clothes to give a homely feel and reduce barriers and there are now walls in the home covered with themes relating to the previous occupations. There are also open outdoor spaces where residents can potter and social events such as karaoke and, of course, the successful choir.
Friends and family of those cared for in the home have noted a remarkable difference and even improvement in the behaviour of their loved ones as a result of the project.
“It is fitting that this prestigious standard has been awarded to Danymynydd during the important Dementia Awareness Week. We are proud to be the home of not one, but two care homes that offer this life-changing level of care for its vulnerable residents.
“The Butterfly Project allows us to adopt a fresh, innovative approach that uses sensory, domestic, play, movement and musical items in the home to create a stimulating new environment that has inspired a new life force among residents.
“The success of this scheme is testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of staff, who have made it happen, and also the friends and family of residents, who provide invaluable love and support.”
What is The Butterfly Approach?All of us will have had moments in life when we felt bored, lethargic, aimless and lacking in energy. At some point these feelings will move on because opportunities come along in life (Sheard 2007). Dementia Care Matters uses this principle through the metaphor of a butterfly to enable nurses and care workers to grasp, as Dolly Parton sings, Love is like a butterfly.
Butterflies are colourful, can flit around a room or be still, can change the moment and can brighten a second in someone’s life – being person centred is similar. In a busy day being person-centred is knowing how to touch people’s lives. All of us can live in the moment, all of us can change someone’s day through small things. (Sheard 2007).
The Butterfly Approach builds on this by establishing five key principles in its training.
Butterflies know themselves and work from feelings, from their spirit on the inside and not just from doing.
Butterflies need environments to be full of things to use with masses of rummage items around.
Practically this means filling a Dementia Care environment with:
Sensory items – busy aprons and waistcoats.
Domestic items – dusters, carpet sweepers.
Comfort items – dolls, prams, soft toys.
Rummage items – boxes of handbags, trays of jewellery.
Cognitive items – shopping catalogues, poems.
Movement items – scarves for dancing, bubbles.
Musical items – instruments, music posters.
Spiritual items – pictures of waves, birdsong.
Normal life items – socks to pair, shoe laces.
Work life items – envelopes, jobs from the past
Fun items – puppets, feather boas.
Art items – photos, paintings.
It also involves training and coaching staff how to increase their level of positive social interactions.