The Dorothy Macham Home (DMH), the first facility of its kind in Canada, opened in the spring of 2001. It is an innovative, state-of-the-art facility at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for veterans with challenging behaviours due to dementia. All residents admitted to the Dorothy Macham Home must be eligible veterans with moderate to severe dementia. They may be residents of Sunnybrook or reside in the community. Residents stay in the DMH until it is established that the resident is able to function safely in his/her previous unit or facility.
Our Care Team
Health care professionals who work in the DMH are specially trained to deal with aggressive behaviours. The goal in providing this level of specialized care is to help each resident achieve a higher quality of life. The care team works with each resident and their family to develop an appropriate program that includes physical, social and emotional elements.
The patient care team for the DMH is interprofessional and includes:
- Registered nurses & registered practical nurses
- Therapists, including occupational, speech, recreation, music, creative art & physiotherapists
- Social workers
- Patient service partners & patient care manager
- Attending physician
- Consulting psychiatrist
They all provide the highest level of resident and family-centred care.
Built to look like a one-story house, this non-institutional facility features 10 private rooms, and is self-contained with an enclosed, secure, therapeutic garden connected to the existing George Hees Wing. The final design was based on the highly successful and world-renowned Alzheimer's Disease & Related Disorders Society (ADARDS) nursing home in Tasmania which was designed by David Hoffman and Dr. John Tooth.
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Each of the ten bedrooms in the home has been specially designed to best meet the needs of our patients. The beds are set very low to the floor allowing residents easier access. The headboard is positioned with a forward view to the toilet. This small but important feature helps residents locate this area easily during the night.
Every bedroom is equipped with a ceiling lift, a safe and easy way to transport people in and out of bed. All ten bedrooms are also equipped with a unique sensor flooring system that detects downward pressure, such as a footstep. Once this movement is detected, the nursing staff will be informed by means of the call bell system. This technology was developed by the Finnish company EMFiTECH. The flooring helps to keep residents safe while notifying staff when a resident is out of bed and may need assistance.
Two of the bedrooms are sound attenuated and have been equipped with extra insulation. For some very vocal patients, this may be a necessary feature.
The shower area is enhanced with glass blocks allowing natural light to flow through. The vanity features an enclosed mirror that may or may not be used as some residents are not comfortable seeing their own reflection. The shower also provides a second access-way for staff to go in and out of the residents' rooms.
The kitchen has an open view of the dining room and resembles a modern residential kitchen. Meals for the residents are heated here, allowing for the comforting and therapeutic effects of certain food scents.
An interior wandering path allows residents to move in and around common areas. Many individuals with dementia like to keep moving. The path encourages movement and exercise within a safe area as the path does not pass by the residents' rooms.
The entire outdoor area is secure, giving residents the freedom to wander outside without the risk of getting lost. The garden features a wandering path specially designed for dementia patients. Research has shown that patients who have access to a garden setting display calmer behaviour.