Pasvolsky Special Care Unit




The Special care Unit is a separate, specialist unit which offers an holistic approach to individuals who require care and/or monitoring over a 24 hour period and who have demonstrated specific cognitive and/or behavioural problems.

Our belief, based on reverance for and affirmation of all life, is that even with the condition of dementia, a person remains whole and that there is an optimum level of wellness and well-being attainable for each individual.

Our goal is to maximize residents' safety, comfort and function and to minimise complications associated with dementia and to improve quality of life.

The Special Care programme provides:

1. Individualised care plans, based on each resident's strengths and remaining  abilities, where all activities have a positive purpose and provide:

  • Sensory stimulation, 
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Creative stimulation
  • Physical exercise
  • Group co-operation, interactions, conversations and cohesiveness
  • Opportunities for reminiscing, life review and memories
  • Ways of using old skills
  • Ways of building self esteem
  • Ways of building relationships within the facilities
  • Positive ways of expressing emotions
  • Activities involving all aspects of care


2.   Appropriate graded, specialist activities and stimulation in a secure and supportive environment, that assists the individual in maintaining cognitive functioning for as long as possible.

3.  Staff who have an understanding of dementia and are actively and effectively involved in all aspects of care.

4.  A safe environment that reflects a low stimulus, calm caring milieu

Occupational therapy (OT) is used in many aspects of the treatments in the Special Care Unit. Our Senior Occupational Therapist, Naomi Meyer, provides an insight into the use of OT with Dementia patients:

Highlands House employed their first Occupational Therapist in the 1950's.  Today the Home has a dynamic Occupational Therapy (OT) department consisting of two Occupational Therapists and an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA).  OT services in the home range from individual or group assessment and treatment to the issuing of wheelchairs and assistive devices, home visits and program development to name a few.  Among the most popular services are the activity programs that provide opportunity for residents to engage in meaningful therapeutic and social activities.

Occupations are the everyday activities that individuals do which they find meaningful.  It follows then that Occupational Therapy is the health profession that promotes health and wellbeing through the facilitation of occupations.  Occupational Therapists work in a range of different contexts, one of which is geriatrics.  OT's in this field are concerned with promoting independence and meaningful engagement of the elderly in self-care activities, leisure and productive pursuits.  The elderly are assisted to continue socialising and taking part in hobbies and favourite past times. 

Occupational Therapists working in Geriatrics understand the importance of promoting independence.  Residents who have various physical limitations require assistance in maintaining their current level of functioning or independence.  This may necessitate the issuing of mobility aids or assistive devices, adapting the environment or teaching of new adaptive ways in completing self care tasks.

When working with clients with Alzheimer's and Dementia, OT has a vital role to play.  In the Special Care Unit (SCU) for residents with cognitive difficulties, the OT based activity program is central.  The program consists of daily activities that provide cognitive, social, and physical stimulation.  This program contributes to the structured environment that allows residents to feel contained and secure.  The program includes activities like crafts, reminiscence, cards, quizzes, musical groups, current affairs group, skittles, bingo, talks, baking, exercises and the Shabbat circle.  Residents are assisted by dedicated carers to participate in groups suitable to their level of functioning.

Towards the later stages of dementia, participation in activities becomes increasingly difficult for residents.  At this stage sensory stimulation is vital.  Carers on the SCU are taught how to engage the residents' senses through the use of smells, touch, sights and sounds.  Hand massage becomes an opportunity to feel the deep pressure and touch of the carers' hands, smell the cream and oils in the water, and listen to the calming background music.  The program with residents becomes less structured and instead more responsive to the needs of the residents themselves. 

Highlands House is in the process of setting up a Multi Sensory Room to use with residents on the SCU.  Residents will be given the opportunity to go into the room which is designed to become a stimulating or calming sensory environment according to the needs of the resident.  The room will incorporate sounds, lights and movement that the OT can set to high or low to the therapeutic benefit of the resident.  This therapy has been used mainly with children but has shown applications to the elderly.  Our Staff awaits the delivery of specialised equipment and are eager to begin using the room.

The Occupational Therapy program is dynamic and an exciting part of what is on offer at the SCU. It needs to keep up with the changing needs of residents in the Home.  Therapists enjoy the challenges and variety that each day in the Home brings.





Revamp of our Coffee Shop
R600 000
R50 000

We are entering a new era and its time for our coffee shop to be upgraded. We're making good progress to making funds available but we're not quite there yet. Help us get there!