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Use of a Sensory Room on an Intensive Care Unit

Smith, S. & Jones, J. C. (2014). Use of a Sensory Room on an Intensive Care Unit. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 52(5), pp. 22-30. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20131126-06


In recent years there has been an increasing use of sensory rooms in psychiatric settings internationally, with suggestions that sensory rooms can reduce seclusion rates. In this study, we explore the use of a sensory room on an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) (known as a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the UK), with a particular focus on the impact on seclusion rates and staff and patients’ experiences of using the sensory room. A mixed method research design was used, with the collection of seclusion data before and after a sensory room was introduced followed by qualitative interviews with staff and patients.

There was no significant reduction of seclusion rates with the introduction of the seclusion room. However, the interviews revealed a perception among staff that there had been a reduction in seclusion rates. Other findings from the interviews were that staff and patients viewed the sensory room as a positive therapeutic intervention and that using the sensory room had improved staff-patient communication and patients’ overall experience of the ICU. In conclusion, the use of a sensory room improved both staff and patients’ experience of the ICU and should be an intervention considered by other ICUs and inpatient psychiatric settings.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Intensive care unit (ICU), sensory room, seclusion, staff and patients’ experiences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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