FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- A Pennsylvania medical center
that frequently treats older people has found that geriatric
patients in need of soothing seem to benefit from a type of therapy
that involves dolls.
At Geisinger Medical Center, nurses affiliated with Nurses
Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders, a national geriatric
program, began experimenting with what they call "baby doll
therapy." The therapy includes offering dolls to elderly patients,
including those with complex medical conditions who might have
physical and mental limitations, and in some cases dementia or
delirium -- conditions that sometimes lead to people becoming
agitated during routine care.
"It is an effective therapy for improving dementia patients' quality of life," nurse Tami Underhill said in a medical center news release. "It is also one of the easier therapies, if not the easiest, to administer."
Previous research had linked the act of carrying and handling
dolls to greater focus, improved attitude and enhanced
communication in older people with dementia. According to the
Alzheimer's Association, hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care
facilities have tried baby doll therapy.
"Not only do we want our patients to be healthy, but we want them to be happy," Underhill said. "The dolls are just a simple means to that end."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about