By Valerie Vaughan, CEO of Carrigoran House


Cuinas Suite is located on the 1st floor, next to our communal activity room in Carrigoran House. The space was repurposed from what was originally a large training room. We took 2/3’s of the space to accommodate the Cuinas Suite. The idea of this service came from 2 sourc- es: 1 was from an analysis of the numbers of residents within Carrigoran House that were
undertaking activities, from this a closer review was made of how we met the needs of our residents who were no longer capable of the level of interaction needed to have meaning engagement with ‘regular’ activities programmes. We introduced a mobile snoezelen unit to bring to residents’ individual rooms for their enjoyment and this was featured in a Sonas Conference as we were the first Nursing Home to engage in this practice for individual mobile units rather than people
having to attend a venue outside of their rooms. From this stemmed the idea of having a base for such interaction that was inclusive of families and friends to be able to spend meaningful time with their loved
one or friend. Our grounds are beautiful but the weather can be unforgiving and mobility an issue for people to push sometimes heavy chairs outside in our gardens and walkways. This was another choice for people to enjoy that is evidence based therapy. There had been a sensory room installed in Shannon Airport to meet the needs of children and adults using the service (the first in Europe) that I went to visit. We used the same supplier for our equipment.

I was fortunate to meet Willy Kuehn when I visited Villa de Matel for the Congregation’ s 150th celebrations a few years ago. He was transitioning at that time as chair of the Sisters of Charity Health System (SCH) Board. I had the pleasure of speaking with him several times via teleconference for our quarterly meetings between Carrigoran House and SCH. He was always such a pleasant man and very interested in what we were endeavoring to do in Carrigoran House for our residents.

The name we chose for our sensory room is the Cuinas Suite. I wanted to incorporate Willy’s surname into the project and the Irish for peace and quiet is Cuin or Cuinas. Below you can see the translations for this word from English to Irish. I thought it an appropriate play on words for someone I felt had such a wonderful presence for our service.

This room is currently being used by residents in the company of their families or volunteers or staff of our dementia specific unit. It is also being used by staff on their breaks and before and after shifts. The room is used in conjunction with music and aromatherapy. In the photographs above a resident is using fiberoptic strands as therapy.

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