by Sharon St. Mary, Executive Director, Good Samaritan Society – Specialty Care Community
At the new Good Samaritan Society -- Specialty Care Community in Robbinsdale, Minn., there is a Snoezelen® therapy room designed to help individuals manage Huntington’s disease behavioral or pain side effects. But what is a Snoezelen room??
Snoezelen, a registered trademark of the English company Rompa, refers to a controlled multisensory environment to manage Huntington’s disease. It is designed to be both soothing and stimulating, using a combination of lighting, colors, sounds and scents. The concept of a Snoezelen room was developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s but now is common the world over for managing Huntington’s disease.
Snoezelen therapy does not rely on verbal communication to manage Huntington’s disease, making it ideal for individuals who have trouble communicating. It combines the physical environment with the human element to reduce anxiety or pain, either physical or emotional. A person with Huntington’s disease can focus on his or her personal needs in an environment that is neither positive or negative. It is completely client-centered.
A typical Snoezelen room to manage Huntington’s disease might incorporate vibro-sensory stimulation in mats or a reclining chair. The room might also include different sounds, such as relaxing music, and a variety of aromatherapy scents that help to manage Huntington’s disease. There could be bubble tubes, fiber optics, wheels and other products to address vestibular motion. Furnishings are generally soft and might include adaptations for wheelchairs.
Because Huntington’s disease affects the entire family, Huntington’s Hope raises post-secondary education scholarship money for the children of parents with Huntington’s disease. The organization hopes to raise $1 million in 2013 with 100 percent of Huntington’s disease donations going directly into an endowment fund to create these scholarships.
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Good Samaritan Society – Specialty Care Community in Robbinsdale, Minn., owned and operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, is one of only eight long-term skilled care centers in the United States with a dedicated program for individuals with Huntington’s disease.