Grant Application

Amy Kowinsky, RN, LDN, Wolff Center and UPMC Mercy Hospital

Proposed Innovation

This project aims to build on the Beckwith Institute-funded Dementia Activities Room that was piloted in UPMC Mercy’s 10E unit in 2016. That project, which created UPMC’s first inpatient activity room for patients with dementia, provided a friendly and supportive environment where they could engage in activities designed to promote cognitive stimulation, reduce agitation, and prevent delirium.

Through this current project, the team will work with a dementia expert to improve on the best parts of the Dementia Activities Room and develop a “package” that can be used to spread the concept to additional units at UPMC Mercy and beyond.

Improvements in Action

This phase of the project will include a thorough analysis of effective tools and processes used in the existing Dementia Activities Room. Gaps and opportunities for additional meaningful activities that engage all five senses also will be explored. The room also will be made available to patients with dementia from other floors.

In addition to a family satisfaction survey, the project team plans to use activity watches and/or sleep diaries to assess the rest-activity rhythms of dementia patients. All this information will be used to develop a protocol, package, and process for spreading the concept of the Dementia Activities Room to other locations.


The activities and interventions that occur in the Dementia Activities Room help to keep patients safe and their functional status stable. By refining the protocols and procedures for the activities room, and for data collection and analysis, this project will create a sustainable and effective model that can be easily implemented in other units. That will allow more patient to benefit from having access to a Dementia Activities Room.