Chilton Medical Center - ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEM
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Chilton Hospital Receives Nearly $36,000 in Grants from Wallerstein Foundation to Help Dementia Patients

Activity Kits at Chilton HospitalA hospital stay can be a stressful time for patients suffering from dementia. Unfamiliarity with caregivers and environment can also contribute to overstimulation, resulting in patient distress.

Many older adult patients have difficulty expressing themselves due to memory impairment, language or decision making. Communication may be expressed as resisting care, calling out or wandering in the hospital environment. “Therapeutic activity kits” have been proven beneficial to help the patient during the hospital stay.

Thanks to generous grants from the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, Chilton Hospital has implemented therapeutic patient activity kits as an evidence-based initiative on their in-patient units to improve the elderly patient hospital stay. The West Orange-based organization has donated nearly $36,000 to the Chilton Hospital Foundation over the past eight years to purchase items for the therapeutic activity kit and several other items related to caring for Chilton’s elderly patients.

These therapeutic items are aligned with Chilton’s NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) principles. NICHE is a nurse-driven program based out of the NYU School of Nursing designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults through evidence-based practices. Chilton is one of about 500 hospitals nationwide that are NICHE hospitals.

The goal of the therapeutic activity kit is to provide meaningful and pleasurable activities to elders during their hospital stay and to decrease the need for restraint. The kit contains a variety of tactile, visual and auditory items that will provide solace, an opportunity for social expression and relief from loneliness and boredom. These items include:

“Nursing staff can work with rehabilitation staff and families to select activities which can help elderly patients express themselves, alleviate boredom or anxiety and promote feelings of self-worth and cooperation with care,” said Chilton’s NICHE Coordinator Carnette Smith, RN. “Knowledge of the patients’ usual behaviors, preferences, interests and physical abilities guide the nurse in selecting an appropriate activity. Ongoing monitoring helps to ensure the avoidance of overstimulation.”

Chilton Hospital is a fully accredited, 260-bed, acute-care, community hospital. It is a four-time recipient of the HealthGrades Specialty Excellence Award in Stroke, and Five-Star Rated for Stroke Care, the highest possible, for six years in a row. It is also Five-Star Rated for Joint Replacement and Total Knee Replacement for 2012 and 2013. Chilton’s many services include minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, a Pain Management center, the Sleep Health Institute, the Comprehensive Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, the Chilton Cancer Center, the MotherBaby Center, an American Diabetes Association-recognized diabetes education program and a weight loss surgery program. Chilton has recently embarked on a $24 million modernization project, which includes the Cardiovascular Interventional Lab, The Breast Center and the Total Joint Center. The hospital is located at 97 West Parkway in Pompton Plains, NJ 07444. For more information about Chilton's facilities and services, or to find a doctor by name, specialty, or location, please visit or call 1-888-CHILTON.

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