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Pilot study of a sensory room in an acute inpatient psychiatric unit

4 Oktober, 2017

Pilot study by following researchers:

Theresa Novak
Senior Occupational Therapist, Missenden Psychiatric Unit, Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health
Districts, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Justin Scanlan
Professional Senior – Occupational Therapy, Mental Health Services, Sydney and South Western Sydney Local
Health Districts, and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Damien McCaul
Formerly Clinical Nurse Consultant, Mental Health Services, Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health
Districts, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Nathan MacDonald
Nursing Unit Manager, Mental Health Services, Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts,
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Timothy Clarke
Registered Nurse, Missenden Psychiatric Unit, Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts,
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Abstract

Objective:
The use of sensory rooms (also known as comfort rooms) to reduce seclusion rates has generated a great deal of interest. This study examined the outcomes associated with the introduction of a sensory room in an acute inpatient psychiatric unit.

Method:
Consumers rated distress and staff rated a variety of disturbed behaviours before and after each use of the
room. Items used during each episode were recorded.

Results:
Use of the room was associated with significant reductions in distress and improvements in a range of disturbed behaviours. Those individuals who used the weighted blanket reported significantly greater reductions in distress and clinician-rated anxiety than those who did not. No changes were noted in rates of seclusion or aggression.

Conclusions:
The sensory room was an effective intervention to ameliorate distress and disturbed behaviour, although this did not translate into reductions in overall rates of seclusion or aggression. Weighted blankets appear to be particularly useful