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Virtual train ride to stimulate memory at Reims hospital

The whistle sounds. The station master arrives to see off the first passengers of the Grand Via. Galipes station is in full swing for the first trip to the nursing home of the University Hospital of Reims. Putting a black cap on his head, Pierre put on a suit for the occasion. “I’m here to greet people, but I’m also one of the residents,” he says with a grin. I think it’s a great way to take a break from everyday life and see other landscapes. Some of us are reliving trips we’ve already taken… It brings things back.”

“I love traveling, my daughters would be happy if they saw this.”

And that’s the whole point of this simulator: to reconnect with others and bring back memories. A particularly useful tool for residents with cognitive impairments or those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. In France, about thirty cabins of this type are already installed in nursing homes. And there are many advantages.

“This experience reassures residents and results in decreased resident use of psychotropic medications. It will be offered to everyone, regardless of their pathology,” explains Christelle Lienard, head of the health department at Résidence Roux. In the compartment, Ginette sat down in a large beige chair. Large blue velvet curtains adorn the window of this 1950s train. As the locomotive advances we discover the bucolic landscape of the Bay of Somme, its pleasure boats and soon the streets of Crotoy.

“Grand Via Company wishes you a pleasant journey.” The voice of Simone Hérault is heard over the loudspeaker, the same one that can be heard on all the embankments of France. The journey begins with the sounds of a rolling train in the background, as videos of very real scenery are shown. “It’s great, it really feels like being on a real train, I’d really like to go to Boulogne-sur-Mer next time,” enthuses Franca. I love traveling, my daughters would be happy if they saw this.”

The system allows reducing the use of psychotropic drugs by 40%

Next to him, Dominic, a former waiter and adventurer at heart, recalls his many train journeys. “I lived everywhere, went wherever there was work. I was seasonal and changed the decor all the time,” he says. Developed by health innovation company Sigo, the Grand Via station wagon is inspired by the “travel therapy” introduced in Italy. Several clinical studies have been conducted and one of them indicates that the device can reduce the use of psychotropic drugs by 40%.

“The goal is also to avoid wandering. This is a multi-sensory approach, we work on touch, hearing with the sound of the train, but also on smell, because we can diffuse aromas depending on the places we cross: from lavender fields to small fishing ports with an iodized smell… We will also be able to have lunch on the train . A resident who does not have a good appetite will be able to rediscover the sensation of eating a sandwich on a train or a cake. This is a new way to support them,” explains Laetitia Cagnet, a teacher at the Ekhpad center.

The University Hospital of Reims also hopes to train about a hundred people in the tool so that it can be used by the city’s four nursing homes. A paramedical research project will be established in 2025. This will allow the impact of this therapeutic device on the well-being of residents to be assessed.

Source: Le Parisien

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