A sensory room, which aims to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels for service users on Chippendale Ward at Newton Lodge, has recently opened thanks to funding from the Trust’s Charitable Funds initiative.
Following feedback from service users Lizzy Osborne, occupational therapist on Chippendale Ward, applied to the Trust’s charitable fund which gives money to support projects across the organisation.
Lizzy explained, “We identified a gap and thought the room would work well as a therapeutic activity to help decrease stress levels. To put us on the right track, we looked at ideas from other learning disability services and used the specialist guidance of professionals that already had a sensory room in their setting. From there, we took the best ideas to create something of our own.”
Service users were involved in coming up with ideas about the types of therapeutic equipment they’d like to see in the room including bubble tubes, beanbags, soft lighting and a sound system with relaxation music.
“The aim of the room is to promote development of relaxation and help facilitate the process of positive interaction and engagement between service users with a learning disability and/or autism and staff.”
To make sure that the room caters for the individual needs of each person, Lizzy created a ‘sensory profile’ which captures information identifying the pieces of equipment that work best with each person that uses the room. The profiles help to understand the likes and dislikes of each person – making sure that each experience is tailored to suit and the right level of support is provided.
To celebrate the opening of the sensory room, staff and service users held a special event and baked cakes for the occasion. The opening was met by a range of positive feedback from service users, who were involved in plans as the project progressed. Leon, a service user on Chippendale Ward said, “I really like the bubble tube. When I’m stressed out, the room is somewhere I can go to chill out.” Another service user said, “It doesn’t feel like you’re on the ward when you’re in the room, it’s somewhere to go to get away from things.”