Recognised expertise in dependency care

Recognised expertise in dependency care

Over the years, the ORPEA Group's teams have developed expertise in the care of people with loss of autonomy, from Alzheimer's type neurodegenerative diseases to chronic vegetative state patients.

Read more on website

Expertise in dementia care

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in elderly people and is the main reason for moving into a nursing home.
Today, 50-70% of all people living in a nursing home have an incipient or advanced neurodegenerative disorder.

It was therefore crucial for us to adapt our facilities to care for dementia sufferers, both in terms of building design, living and care plans and staff training.

For many years now, ORPEA has taken an innovative approach based on:

1.    A specific architectural design for units specialising in dementia care.

The aim is to enable people with behavioural disorders to live together freely and safely in a properly adapted environment, while respecting the dignity and well-being not only of the patients themselves but also their families and the staff caring for them.

The architectural design for these units is drawn from our experience of how these patients behave and is based on the following guidelines:

  • For patients: freedom to walk around unrestricted with spontaneous guidance towards the common areas and their rooms via an adapted guidance system and permanent passive, non-directive supervision.
  • For families: reassurance that their loved one is being looked after in a serene environment and ability to share quality family time with the patient.
  • For staff: after specific, tailored training, working in a serene, ergonomic environment with dedicated areas for agitated residents and calmer areas for therapeutic activities.

The sheltered units within our care facilities provide:

    - A place to live equipped with:

  • A common living area (equipped with a therapeutic kitchen) in a place adapted to passive supervision, either from the room corridors or from the unit entrance.
  • Abundant natural light in the living area throughout the day (and artificial lighting at night), contrasting with lower lighting in the room corridors (day and night) to guide patients naturally towards the lighter living area and attune them to the natural rhythms of day and night. This design can be supplemented with wall decorations in the corridors to encourage and guide patients towards the living area.
  • A secure walking area with no obstacles to help prevent the risk of fall.


    - A protected circular garden or terrace accessible from the living area with rest areas. Occupational or therapeutic stimulation activities such as a vegetable garden or gardening may be organised here.

    - More intimate areas called family rooms or relaxation lounges.

    - Individual bedrooms with specially adapted furniture and furnishings (specialised Alzheimer's bed, wardrobes with intelligent doors, wireless call system, night light, etc.).

    - A locked care station for monitoring patients' movements and wanderings during the day and night.

The Snoezelen sensory room and balneotherapy facilities are usually located outside the units so that they can be used by all residents and patients.

The unit is decorated in single-colour pastel shades, avoiding any mirror effects.

2.    Monitoring and practice of non-pharmacological approaches.

Our staff work mainly on promoting quality of life, with a focus on continual improvement and innovation to provide quality care for dementia patients.
The choice of non-pharmacological therapies is adapted to the care plan specific to each facility and each patient.
All these approaches aim to keep dementia patients autonomous for as long as possible by promoting their well-being, developing their capabilities and limiting behavioural disorders.

Many cognitive and sensory stimulation activities are organised in our facilities as they provide a means of communication making it easier to care for the patient. Activities include art therapy, stretching, therapeutic gardening and cooking with specially designed equipment.

ORPEA's Medical Department coordinates research work with the care teams to measure the benefits of new equipment or non-pharmacological therapies to the patient's quality of life.
Research is also carried out with experts on cutting-edge issues, such as:

  • "How to get patients to enjoy eating with special menus adapted to their needs, desires and capabilities", with the Institut Paul Bocuse and AgroParisTech on patient nutrition;
  • "Sun and sleep", a study carried out with the Nice teaching hospital, the Centre d’Innovation et d’Usage en Santé and the company Trilux, to measure the benefits of light on sleep and behavioural disturbances and patient anxiety.

Through this research, we try to make sure that the action we take genuinely contributes to the enjoyment and well-being of residents and patients, whatever their age or illness.

ORPEA also uses new memory stimulation techniques, such as memory boxes. Our staff gather objects that mean something to the patient and help them recall people and events from the past. The patient's family regularly adds things to the memory box throughout the patient's stay so that it becomes a means of communication: picking up an object from the box will stimulate memories and emotions, which the patient will be better able to express and share with their carers and family.


3.    An active monitoring to identify new approaches dedicated to the accompaniment of these patients via :

  • a study on finger food
  • a study on light therapy
  • the creation of specific training courses for the teams;


4.    Developing actions to support carers.

ORPEA's Medical Department has produced an advice leaflet for families and close friends of patients to help them understand and live with the illness, understand the symptoms and resulting disorders and how to get help.

In addition, we support the action of recognised associations such as France Alzheimer and we contribute to research programmes. For example, in Austria, we support a programme for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders and dementia run by the Karl Landsteiner Institute, and in Spain we promote the national association for Parkinson's disease.


Care for patients in a persistent vegetative or minimally conscious state

8 CLINEA* post-acute care and rehabilitation facilities have a specialised unit to look after these heavy care patients.

They are declared to be PVS or MCS if they have been in a more or less severe unconscious state for more than 3 to 6 months due to illness or 12 months after a traumatic injury.
A medical and living plan is drawn up for each patient.

(*Taverny, l’Hay les Roses, Mareuil-lés-Meaux, Boulogne, Louviers, Chamalières, Draguignan and Plateau d’Assy).

See the leaflet

See the leaflet