News from Anandaniketan

Any volunteers who have been to Anandaniketan in Katwa, West Bengal, will know that the Girls' Shelter Home (GSH) and the conditions and difficulties its residents have to deal with, provide the biggest challenge for the Allied Health Team. The GSH houses approximately 100 female residents, with a wide range of ages and cognitive and physical disabilities. The disharmony that results from this incompatible group in a closed, claustrophobic environment fosters disagreements and aggression. For the 2012 volunteers, it was considered a priority to assist the carers in the management of this group, by exploring the best alternatives to isolate those residents with difficult behaviours. Assisted by a volunteer psychiatrist on the team, a plan was developed to build two safe rooms and a time out room, with specifications in regard to safety, hygiene, light and ventilation.

In addition to designing the safe rooms and time-out room, the psychiatrist supplied clear and specific guidelines for their use, and training was provided to the nurse and carers in the implementation of these procedures.

The news from Anandaniketan is that the rooms are complete and are being used appropriately, to good effect. The venture was made possible by the generous donations of past Equal Health volunteers, as well as funding from Equal Health and Anandaniketan.