Agnieszka Napieralska of Poland, Sarina Bach of Germany, Janina Viitasaari of Finland and Maria Larsson of Sweden are the Queen Silvia Nursing Award scholars for 2019. These nursing students have each won a €6000 scholarship as well as an individually-designed internship within the healthcare sector with national and international partners.
The Queen Silvia Nursing Award was established in 2013 as a gift to Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden on her 70th birthday. As per tradition, scholars are announced annually on the 23rd of December which is Her Majesty’s birthday.
The purpose of the Queen Silvia Nursing Award is for nursing students to contribute ideas that lift the quality of life and care for an elderly patient or a person with a dementia diagnosis. The objective of the Award is to increase nursing students’ interest in the field of elderly and dementia care, as well as its sustainable development and solutions.
Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden is actively engaged in the dementia cause as her late mother, Mrs. Alice de Toledo Sommerlath, lived with a diagnosis in her later years. Her Majesty has leant her name and support to a number of Swedish initiatives including Stiftelsen Silviahemmet which provides dementia care training and certification programs; as well as SilviaBo – a housing project created by Skanska and Ikea’s BoKlok organization – which provides safe and affordable homes for people with cognitive impairment.
In recognition of Her Majesty’s dedication to the elderly and dementia care sphere, The Queen was named Honorary Ambassador of Alzheimer’s Disease International in December 2018.
THE WINNING CONCEPTS
Janina Viitasaari is a third year nursing student at Metropolia in Helsinki. Her idea is to create an audio memory book that can be adapted for the elderly and people with memory challenges.
Jury members in Finland motivated their decision by emphasizing that, “The audio memory book is ready to be realized. The device is much like a telephone with a microphone to capture audio, speakers to play back the sound, and buttons that are incorporated to play back the recorded material.
“This device can give people with memory loss a sense of security, and thus improve their everyday lives. The device could also be used as a means to increase and improve communication and collaboration between family and carers, as well as between the user and the carers. This is a solid example of how small changes can be made to assist the lives of a vulnerable population.”
Agnieszka Napieralska is a third year nursing student at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. Her idea is to create video tutorials for families providing home care for an elderly family member.
Ms. Napieralska describes that in Poland, “Before an elderly person is released from the hospital, staff must always ensure that they train the patient’s caregiver (often a family member) in various activities such as feeding through a probe, administering medicines subcutaneously, and so on. The family caregiver can typically perform these tasks under a nurse’s supervision, but when they return home and are forced to perform the same task alone, they often forget the procedure or fear that they will make a mistake.
“With this in mind, short instructional videos featuring a professional nurse would be developed for all home care procedures for elderly persons. The recording could be given to the family care giver during hospital release or picked up at a clinic. With this video reference in hand, home carers would feel more supported and self-confident to perform the task for their family member.”
Sarina Bach is currently training to become a nurse at the Königin Elisabeth Herzberge Hospital in Berlin. Her idea is to create a biography mobile for patients or residents who have a dementia diagnosis. Ms. Bach pointed out that, “Loneliness is worst for patients and residents who live with dementia. They feel this loneliness every day, especially in late phases of dementia, with progressive regression. The families of these patients and residents do not always have time to visit their relatives, so their everyday lives may become dull.
“The biography mobile can help. Together with the residents this mobile can be crafted, for example while in occupational therapy, and be hung above the bed. It contains pictures of relatives and friends as well as from exceptional biographical moments from the resident’s life. This mobile can support memories and lower the loneliness of the resident because (s)he is surrounded by pictures or small scent bags that could connect the resident with his family or childhood.”
Maria Larsson is currently in her third term of nursing studies at Högskolan Kristianstad. Her idea is to create an aid which allows the elderly to remove their compression sock independently, without the assistance of others.
Ms. Larsson explained that, “While there are many assistive aids for putting compression socks on, there are not nearly as many options to remove them effectively. I have noticed that many elderly guests have a much easier time pulling up their socks as opposed to pushing them off. This is because it is not the same natural motion for removal.
“My idea is to develop a simple aid that uses the body’s natural power and motion to give users of compression socks a much easier way of removing this clothing item. This would allow the user a greater feeling of independence and freedom without necessarily relying on others for assistance.”
The Queen Silvia Nursing Award is made possible with national partners such as Folkhälsan of Finland, St. Anna-Stift Kroge and Förderverein Anna Wassenberg of Germany, Medicover of Poland, and Sweden’s Swedish Care International and Forum For Elderly Care.