La Crosse, WI (WXOW) ---- The program is now in its 3rd year. It's called "Babydolls for Restless Souls".
Staff who say due to the increase in elderly patients living with dementia the need for these dolls continues to grow. There's little formal research on the effects that dolls have on people with dementia but those who have witnessed the therapy believe it works.
Staff says the dolls help soothe patients they also help providers do their job.the hospital acquired 2 dolls 2 years ago. Nurses who work with the elderly are familiar with the dolls and say having dolls on hand is in many cases is a necessity.
A doll can calm a patient, provide a distraction and even keep them from getting out of bed nurses tell me they've often asked patients that are high risk for injury to babysit the dolls which usually keeps them from getting out of bed.
At first glance it looks like the real thing.but it's not about how these dolls look rather how they feel. Some of the patients are in here for the 1st time in a different setting everything is new.
Kathy Lucey says patients with dementia are often agitated and afraid when the go to a new place. The dolls calm them down hence the name baby dolls for restless souls. "A lady had close to 70 foster children so when she came in she really attached to one of the babies.
Nurse leader Shannon Hulett says "there was a nurse who was pregnant and the patient recognized that and she kept touching her belly and talking about the pregnancy and she was at risk to fall so the nurse brought her in the baby and asked her if she would take care of it for her." When the patient was discharged she had to leave the doll but not anymore and that nurse later brought the doll to the patient.
The BabyDoll Program is expanding to include babies of different ethnicities. Each doll costs 20 dollars.
If you'd like to provide dolls for the program go www.gundersenhealth.org/partners/membership
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