Patient Referral

Virtual dementia tour a "very intense" lesson in empathy

The Plain Dealer

NORTH RANDALL, Ohio -- Suburban Pavilion Nursing Home hosted a virtual dementia tour Wednesday for staff, local officials and family members who wanted to experience how a patient with dementia sees, hears and feels in their world. 

Crossroads Hospice ran the virtual dementia tour, an active empathy exercise, where participants learn what it is like to have dementia as they tried to perform everyday tasks. Each participant was fitted with sensory-numbing apparatus, such as two layers of gloves, headphones creating sounds and background noises, darkened glasses to give the feeling of macular degeneration and spike shoe inserts to create sensitivity issues for the feet. 

Each participant was be asked to read charts that listed several tasks to perform within a eight minutes. Some participants completed a few tasks, and most participants completed none of the tasks. 

"The tour was very intense,"  North Randall Mayor David Smith said. Many agreed that the most common feeling was the feeling of frustration trying to perform any daily task.