ADMC centres have several specialised and innovative treatment methods for people with chronic diseases and disabilities. One of these therapies is called ‘Snoezel therapy’. It is a therapy for patients with autism or who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Snoezel therapy does not include medical treatment and will not offer a cure of any kind. However, it has shown to have a stimulating and soothing effect.
Snoezelen is a concept developed by Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul at De Hartenberg institute in the Netherlands. It is pronounced as ‘Snoozlin’, which is derived from the Dutch words for ‘to doze’ and ‘to explore’. Dozing means for the patients to feel safe, warm and relaxed. This part of the Snoezel therapy entails placing a patient in a soothing room. The rooms are specially designed controlled environments. It is important for patients to feel safe because they cannot control their natural environment.
The exploring part of the therapy is staged to stimulate the primary senses and therefore provides a multi-sensory or single sensory environment. These environments are uniquely designed for each patient. Hence, each room has different Snoezel equipment. The equipment is meant to stimulate sight, hearing, taste, smell and/or touch. Such a room may contain colourful lights, bubble tubes or walls and a projector showing images for visual stimulations. Another feature of Snoezelen the stimulate smell is aromatherapy. These scents are meant to be stimulating or soothing, not overwhelming. Soothing and stimulating sensory stimulation is very personal. The use of Snoezel equipment is therefore often applied in rooms through trial and error.
The rooms are not only meant to stimulate senses and make the patient more relaxed. The therapy also provides patients and their family a place to bond.
As before mentioned, Snoezel therapy will not cure or reverse the progression of a patient’s cognitive disability. It can however help patients to feel less stressed and fearful in their daily lives. When people feel calmer and relaxed, the quality of that person’s life has been increased that day.