The rocking chair
- a relaxing break
From the left Elin Rydeback Masreliez, Nadja Putrus and Eva-Lena Lundberg, staff at Trollflöjten's dementia care home, testing the rocking chair from Ergonova.
We at Trollflöjten's dementia care home in Linköping have been testing a rocking chair from Ergonova since May. We use many different "tools” in our work to provide good care. After a few months of use we can state that the chair has become an additional option in our daily care activities.
Our hope when we first tested the rocking chair was to identify another method for rest and relaxation, but we also wanted to try to improve the general well-being of the people staying at Trollflöjten. We wanted to see if the chair could help alleviate severe symptoms that can result in restlessness, irritability and difficulty in settling down to rest. Studies from the US have shown that swaying/rocking can reduce the patient crying out.
For years we have talked about swaying or rocking relieving anxiety, but have had difficulty finding a bespoke "rocker” for our target group. In connection with "the day for the elderly” in Linköping in 2012, we met Christer Hanquist from Ergonova. The chair was not fitted with lateral support at that time. When the lateral support was introduced, we had the opportunity of testing the chair for a week, after which we placed an order for it.
The first time someone gets to test the rocking chair is when the person is feeling as good as possible in order for the sense of well-being to be enhanced when resting in it. Sometimes we have simply sat on the edge together for a while. Not everyone wants to try the chair, which is important to take into account as you have to want to rest in order for it to work. How we ask, and how we invite someone to participate in an activity is also crucial. The challenge is to capture the moment when it is "right” to try. It is also important not to give up after your initial attempt. You may need to try many times and be persistent before it works for you. Of course, as staff we sit alongside the chair.
A manager that is present and driven and who engages and inspires all the staff to new ways of working improves the prospects for a successful outcome. Our staff group was involved from the beginning in getting information about the chair, and it was also an opportunity for everyone to try for themselves.
Examples of the impacts of a rocking chair on some of the patients:
One person has found it very difficult settling down in bed. The rocking chair helps this person relax for over an hour, which never happens in bed.
Another person who has poor balance and can only walk with assistance, heads spontaneously to the rocking chair with a smile on his face. Before the rocking chair was introduced for lunch rest, he lay just a few minutes in bed. He is able to rest for long periods, which in turn leads to a better day.
A third person falls asleep almost as soon as she sits down in the chair. Resting in the chair on a daily basis has become something recognisable and safe. We have placed the chair in a quiet corner that we can shield with partition walls.
Our experience shows that the chair is well worth trying and we have had the greatest benefit from it particularly for those who are feeling at their worst.
People wanting to test the rocking chair should remember to:
- Be persistent, don't give up
- Try it when you are already feeling good
- Sit to the side to create peace of mind
Staff at Trollflöjten's dementia care home