Daughters of Israel has completed a $400,000 renovation of its Reinfeld-Holtz Pavilion, home to 42 residents at the end stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Changes at the wing of the skilled nursing facility in West Orange include a new dining room, nurses’ station, and multisensory “Snoezelen” room.
The renovation, which began in September and lasted through January, was paid for by grants from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, with the exception of the Arthur Cohen Cafe, which was paid for by a grant from the Frances Davis Fund.
The goal of the upgrades, according to administrators, is to provide residents “with a more luxurious and home-like ambiance.”
The project reflects an industry-wide move toward de-institutionalizing the environment of senior nursing facilities.
“A lot has to do with the recognition that nursing homes are not just a place for people to get nursing care, but that they are where people live,” said DOI executive director Susan Grosser. “We need to change the way we operate to reflect the reality that we’re here helping residents as they live their lives. We’ve embraced this as a philosophy already, but now we are changing the physical environment to embrace it even more so.”
The cafe features a hotel-style buffet. According to Grosser, it has a therapeutic benefit: seeing and smelling the food can serve as aromatherapy that provides stimulation.
A smaller and more intimate dining room was also built off the side of the main dining room for residents who are able to eat without assistance but who require supervision and encouragement. The dining experience is intended to encourage residents to socialize, linger, and take in more healthy calories.
The nurse station, previously behind a wall of glass that acted as a barrier between caregivers and residents, is now open. According to Grosser, the change means that “residents and families can interact more freely,” while the nursing station offers a more welcoming presence.
Also part of the renovation are two sensory environments, known as Snoezelen rooms, which feature apparatus providing various lighting effects, tactile surfaces, meditative music, and aromas to stimulate the senses.
Daughters has other renovation plans under way, including introducing the dining buffet service and open nurse stations to other units throughout the facility.
During the summer, construction will begin in a second pavilion that houses 54 residents with somewhat decreased cognitive level and who require moderate assistance.
Daughters is a beneficiary agency of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.