Residents at the Comprehensive Care Center who may not be able to leave their beds because of health issues can now visit an aquarium – at their bedside.
Thanks to a donation from the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation, the CCC now has an iPad with a dedicated aquarium feature. The iPad is attached to a rolling stand, to allow it to go from room-to-room. The screen displays color images of undulating coral and seagrasses, as a vibrant, multi-colored fish cruise through the water.
“When I was at a different (skilled nursing) facility, I’d see people who were so agitated and then were calmed” by viewing a screen with the aquarium images, explains Leslie Kelly, a registered nurse and member of the Lompoc Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees.
She lobbied for the Foundation, on whose board she also serves, to purchase the equipment for the CCC.
“I saw the effect it had on the memory care unit,” she says.
CCC Administrator Lorraine Jones said it will be useful for residents with limited mobility, or those who are unable to leave their beds at all. She recently rolled the mobile aquarium into the room of one longtime resident.
“It’s gorgeous,” the resident said enthusiastically. “I’m so happy to see this. I love coral and anemones.”
Years ago, Purdue University researchers found that displaying tanks of brightly colored fish may curtail disruptive behaviors and improve the eating habits of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Now, with the advent of technology, it’s not necessary to have physical fish tanks. Nowadays, an app will suffice.
Purdue’s study also showed a decrease in behaviors such as wandering, pacing, yelling and physical aggression, according to reports at the time.
While the CCC resident who tried it out is limited in physical movement rather than having memory issues, she appreciated the new amenity.
“I could enjoy that for years,” she said. “It’s mesmerizing.”