Sensory boxes to aid and calm patients with a series of complaints including learning difficulties and autism have been introduced at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, thanks to the support of the My WiSH Charity.
The devices have been the brainchild of Liz Cotton, who is a senior matron for ward F9, ward F4, ward F3, and the Pre Assessment Clinic and Fracture Clinic, and features an Amazon Fire, wands full of glitter, sensory ooze tubes, fidget cubes and spinners.
She came up with the idea as she has a keen interest in learning disabilities as her four-year-old son William suffers from non- verbal autism.
She said the number of patients with the complaint is growing and it is estimated by Mencap that there are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK.
She said: “Coming into hospital is scary enough for anyone but add to that some sensory issues, communication issues and cognitive impairment it is exceptionally frightening for our patients with a learning disability.
“After discussion with colleagues I thought that we needed something available to help this client group with their anxieties while they are inpatients on the ward.
“I sought some help from the learning disabilities nurse in the Trust for guidance as to what should be included and to make sure it was age appropriate for the adult patient.
“The box contains a number of sensory items and an Amazon Fire which has been set up with some games and streaming services. The box was totally supported by the My WiSH Charity and since launching we have had interest from other areas in the trust who would also be interested in putting one together.”
Sally Daniels, My WiSH appeal manager who worked with Liz on the project, said: “The charity is now hoping to purchase additional boxes to use around the hospital over the coming months. As Liz said, we have had interest from other areas of the hospital including the paediatric recovery team and one of the wards would like one for patients with dementia. It’s a great initiative and something we are thrilled to be part of.”
Pictured above are Kelsey Hindley (nursing assistant), Iwona Zielinska (ward manager), Liz Cotton (matron) and Fernando Medina (charge nurse).