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Sunday, 23 January 2022

Sensory boxes funded to soothe the senses of hospital patients

THE Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity have funded sensory boxes filled with resources to help patients feel relaxed as they wait for their treatment.

For many people with autism and learning disabilities, being cared for in hospital can be a daunting experience. To help patients of all ages feel less anxious, the charity has funded 10 boxes filled with sensory toys which use light, sound and texture to keep minds and hands distracted.

Autism and Learning Disability Champions at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust will trial the boxes at key locations at Rotherham Hospital, including the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre, and are just one of the initiatives the Trust is adopting to gain ‘autism friendly’ accreditation from the National Autistic Society.

Jennifer Turedi, the Trust’s Lead Nurse for Autism and Learning Disabilities bid for the £450 resources. She said:

“We know that sensory equipment, such as kaleidoscopes and flashing balls, have a calming effect on people’s anxiety levels when they are in unfamiliar surroundings and thanks to our hospital charity we now have a host of wonderful resources which can be used in quiet areas or at a patients’ bedside.

“We are absolutely thrilled with them because it means we can do even more to ensure our most vulnerable patients have a calmer and less daunting hospital experience. They are such simple resources but we know they will make a big difference.”

The Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity raise funds to provide the extra special resources, equipment and projects which the NHS would ordinarily not be able to afford.  The charity has previously funded similar sensory boxes filled with traditional games and art resources for dementia and stroke patients.

Suzanne Rutter, Charity Engagement and Development Manager, said:

“Thanks to our amazing donors and fundraisers, the charity is able to provide these amazingly simple but effective resources. We know that people with learning disabilities and autism tend to spend longer in hospital, so they will be invaluable at relieving the frustration and boredom patients often feel while recovering. They will prove to be a great icebreaker for staff introducing themselves to patients for the first time.

“They will also help us to move one step closer to gaining accreditation from the National Autistic Society, which means we’ll be a beacon of good practice.”

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