New sensory pod installed at New Cross to help ease patient's anxiety

A new sensory pod is being trialled at New Cross Hospital to help easy anxiety among patients.

Matron Nichola Plant in the new sensory pod at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, which will be used to calm patients
Matron Nichola Plant in the new sensory pod at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, which will be used to calm patients

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is the first acute health trust in the UK to use such a pod for patients.

The sensory pod is a futuristic, calming space for children and adults with disabilities to regulate their moods, and is used in schools, universities, libraries and homes.

A two-way window allows the user to connect with people outside but can be changed to one-way if the user is too stressed.

It has been installed on a 12-month trial basis in the fracture clinic at New Cross, part of the hospital's trauma and orthopaedic department, to help ease anxiety in patients.

The enclosed 8ft by 4ft space has been decorated with a nautical theme, has minor LED lighting and has music piped in via Bluetooth speakers.

Michelle Wilding, senior sister at the trust and Andy Haines, general manager, Murray’s Medical UK

The pod cost around £6,500 and provides a calming and sensory space for users with autism, ADHD, sensory issues, as well as sufferers of anxiety and panic attacks.

Nicki Vanes, nurse lead for continuous quality improvement at the trust, said the pod had already proved a hit with younger visitors.

“We wanted to look at providing a safe, relaxing place for our patients who have learning disabilities and or other anxiety-type issues who attend the TO clinics," she said.

“Waiting in a clinic can be scary for some of our patients, so the clinical team were very interested in trialling out this system to improve patients’ experience in an outpatient setting.”

Inside the pod

Michelle Wilding, senior sister at the trust, is working closely with the learning disabilities team to improve care for patients with learning disabilities when they visit the department.

Another aim of this project is to reduce high levels of non attendances among these patients. She says the work they are doing has already had the desired effect.

Ms Wilding added: “The sensory pod is a very welcome addition to fracture clinic. It is also welcomed by the parents as a distraction for the child whilst waiting for their appointments. The feedback has been very positive so far.”

The pod has been supplied and fitted by Murray’s Medical Equipment from Dublin.

Andy Haines, the company's general manager said, said: “In the climate we’re living in, the need for safe, calming spaces is getting more and more and is increasingly important for some vulnerable groups of people.

“We’re delighted to have introduced the sensory pod to New Cross and look forward to hearing positive feedback from users.”

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