Doll Therapy at Greenhaw Lodge

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Greenhaw Doll Therapy - April 2016

It is currently estimated that over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2016), causing the loss of their intellectual, social and emotional abilities over time.

Doll Therapy is an activity which uses a doll to encourage a person to interact and aims to return a sense of self, meaning and purpose for a person with Dementia. This may seem, on the outside, patronising, but people with Dementia can obtain a great deal of joy and comfort from a doll (Self Growth, 2016).

With the evidence demonstrating Doll Therapy as a stimulating and meaningful activity, Greenhaw Lodge Activity Co-Ordinator, Colleen Doherty believed that Doll Therapy would have a positive impact on the residents within Greenhaw Lodge.

A life-like doll named Susie was introduced, which would be used during the therapy sessions. Susie played her part mainly with female residents who throughout their lives fulfilled the role of a parent or care giver. The outcome of Doll Therapy was astounding!

For many residents the doll had a soothing and calming effect during times of agitation and anxiety, and also helped to break down communication barriers between residents and staff.  For other residents Doll Therapy was about the sense of role and responsibility, as Colleen found that “babysitting” Susie brought a lot of joy and happiness with residents demonstrating caring and maternal roles.

Doll therapy went as far as to stimulate reminiscence for Greenhaw Lodge resident Maureen, as spending time with Susie brought back memories of her own children and of being a parent.

Doll therapy at Greenhaw Lodge has not only been effective but has brought an abundance of joy and happiness for many of the residents and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.

Larchwood Care (NI) Limited
First Floor

Unit 16 Crescent Industrial Estate
Ballinderry Road

BT28 2GN

Tel: 028 92 669 360

22 February 2022

In the last number of months we have seen significant changes in the development of the virus with the spread of a new variant “omicron,” the impact of the holiday season over Christmas and New Year, the easing of social restrictions in the community and the changes to testing practices.

We continue to be thankful for the skill, commitment and dedication of all staff teams who have worked tirelessly in caring for the residents during challenging times.  We thank relatives too who have been patient and understanding in supporting the necessary restrictions placed upon visiting especially in Homes which have been impacted by outbreaks.

It was announced last week that further easing of restrictions on visiting have been introduced and this is cautiously welcomed.  I have outlined below the visiting arrangements which will be in place in all “non-outbreak homes” with immediate effect and anticipate that we will review on 7 March, when we expect further guidance from the Department of Health

Virtual, Window, End of Life Visiting and Care Partners

There have not been any changes in the arrangements for the above visiting opportunities.  All continue to be available within the Homes and can be booked, where necessary, through the Home Administrator.

General Visiting

In line with the Regional guidelines referenced above Larchwood Care NI is also facilitating General and Room Visits.  The difference between a General Visit and a Room Visit is the location in which they take place within the Home.  A General Visit will take place within the designated visiting area of the Home and a Room Visit, for those residents unable to come to the visiting area, will take place in the Resident’s room.

All General and Room visits must be pre-booked and you will be asked a series of risk assessment questions as part of this booking process.  Booking can take place Monday – Friday 1000 – 1100 hours or 1400-1500 hours, by phoning the Care Home.  The following guidelines will help you to understand the process and arrangements for both types of visits

  • Book in advance.
  • Undertake risk assessment over the phone.
  • 4 visitors from a maximum of 2 households may visit for maximum 60 minutes.
  • Visitors may include children. Children are included within the maximum 4 persons per visit.
  • Arrive to the Home wearing a face mask 20 minutes prior to your visiting slot.
  • All visitors will be swabbed using a rapid antigen COVID-19 test.
  • You will be asked to wait until the result of your test is confirmed as negative
  • You may touch and hold hands with the resident and brief hugging is now permitted.


In facilitating this wide range of visiting activities and care partner arrangements you will understand the burden placed on staff time to undertake the administration and facilitation of these.  Each Home will therefore have a maximum number of general and virtual visits available per week and we would ask that all relatives, family and friends are understanding of this.

In addition to visiting, independently mobile residents may avail of meeting with relatives in the grounds and gardens of the Homes.  Residents may also now enjoy brief trips outside of the Home with loved ones.  These trips will be accommodated where restrictions such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitiser can be facilitated.  Such visits will be risk assessed by the care home and further direction on these can be sought through the Home Manager.

Care Partner arrangements within the Homes continue and visits by Church Ministers and Faith Groups are in addition to the above visiting arrangements.

All visitors, including Care Partners, in their daily lives are reminded of the need to ensure good personal hygiene, use of face coverings as required and to exercise their judgement on the need to use public transport for the benefit of all residents and staff in the Home.