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Sensory room in a psychiatric intensive care unit

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Background: The use of sensory-based treatment developed in paediatric and neurodevelopment care is a relatively new practice in psychiatric intensive care and acute mental health settings. This report briefly reviews the literature on the use of sensory rooms in psychiatric intensive care units and acute mental health settings, and outlines the development of a sensory room in a female psychiatric intensive care unit.
Method: We provide an account of the process of establishing a sensory room in a psychiatric intensive care unit setting, including considerations, protocol, training and feedback. The literature on sensory room use in psychiatric intensive care and acute mental health settings was reviewed using the PubMed database and Google Scholar for 'grey' literature.
Results: Widespread positive patient and staff perspectives on sensory room use in psychiatric settings were identified in the literature. Some studies have identified links between sensory-based care and reduced rates of restrictive practice. Feedback from patients using the sensory room established in the report revealed themes of patients enjoying and valuing the practice, and highlighted the need for patient-centred choice in its provision.
Conclusions: This report outlines the development of a sensory room in a female psychiatric intensive care unit and briefly reviews the literature on such, considering its efficacy in both patient experience and possible developments in reducing more restrictive practices in care in this clinical setting. It provides a basis for further evaluation and research on sensory room interventions and their effectiveness in improving clinical outcomes.
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Keywords: PSYCHIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE; PSYCHIATRY; SENSORY ROOM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2020

This article was made available online on November 5, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Sensory room in a psychiatric intensive care unit".

More about this publication?
  • Published twice a year, the Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care is devoted to issues affecting the care and treatment of people with mental disorders who manifest severely disturbed functioning. The journal is international and multidisciplinary. It provides stimulating papers and articles of interest to those who work in or study psychiatric intensive care, low secure services, acute inpatient wards, challenging behaviour environments, emergency psychiatry, or intensive treatments settings in other parts of the wider mental health system. The Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care encourages informed debate and exchange of opinion. Its content includes editorials, original research, brief reports, reviews, conference reports, news and notices, but preference is given to original research of a high scientific quality.
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