Snoezelen Therapy

Client: JO & JR Wicking Trust

Centre: ACEBAC

Start year: 2009
End year: 2010

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Snoezelen and other multi-sensory therapies provide stimuli to the primary senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Developed in the Netherlands as a leisure resource for children with learning disabilities in the 1970s the popularity of Snoezelen has spread and is now frequently used in fields as diverse as paediatrics, midwifery, mental health, special education and pain management. Traditionally Snoezelen is delivered in a dedicated room designed specifically for this purpose using a variety of lights, moving objects, music, aromas, and tactile objects. Many Snoezelen environments now incorporate the use of 'high tech' fibre optics, bubble tubes, strobe lights, aroma steamers, image projectors and ceiling mounted mirror balls. Most recently, the sensory experience has been provided via a mobile cart transported to the individual's bedside or in the form of an outdoor Snoezelen garden. Anecdotally, the use of Snoezelen and multisensory therapies has become increasingly popular in residential aged-care facilities (RACFs) in Victoria, in particular for residents living with dementia who may exhibit behaviours that staff find challenging. These behaviours include wandering, restlessness and aggression. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of Snoezelen and other multi-sensory interventions in the management of dementia behaviours in Victorian RACFs, including the indications for use; the types of interventions used; staffing and physical requirements for the delivery of multisensory therapies; assessment; staff training, education and evaluation.