Our Outpatients Facility based at our Children’s Hospital are trialling a new immersive sensory pod experience, aimed at reducing tension and anxiety for our young patients who visit us for outpatient appointments. Visiting the hospital for treatment can be a daunting experience for our children, often resulting in tears and distress in our outpatient waiting area. To keep our children smiling, we’ve recently been trialling a new playtime pod to reduce sensory overload for our kids.
Our new 8ft by 4ft aquatic-themed sensory pod provides children and young people with a calming experience, reducing any added tension or stress before being seen by our clinicians. Although sensory pods are a tool used to calm those with special educational needs, sensory pods are also great for reducing nervousness in children by providing them with an entertaining and calming environment away from the hustle and bustle of a clinical setting.
Parents and carers can connect their phones to control the music inside the cushioned ocean pod. With wipeable surfaces, our outpatient colleagues frequently clean the pods after each use to ensure our ocean hub is kept Covid-safe for the little ones. The pod also features a two-way window that can be changed to one-way if the user becomes too stressed or experiences a sensory overload during their wait.
We caught up with Marc Crocker, our Outpatients Manager who spoke about how the sensory pod has been able to reduce anxiety within our children and young people. He said: “The pod is part of a study that we’re currently trialling with Birmingham City University that will help us to pinpoint new methods of enhancing our patient experience for parents, carers, young people and children who visit with us.”
Minara Bibi, our Play Facilitator added: “It’s not necessarily about only reducing anxiety for children but considering our parents and carers also. Our parents are often more nervous than our children so having those moments where children are calm also helps parents to have a better experience emotionally. A lot of our children also visit recurringly so having something to look forward to rather than just associating their time here with being treated makes children feel more at ease on their journeys to our hospital.”
We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the sensory pod experience for our children and young people and enhancing our patient and visitor experience for all. Aimee Taft, our Lead Learning Disability Liaison Nurse concluded: “We hope that all children and young people including those with learning disabilities and or autism can access the pod to improve their experiences of being within a busy acute setting whilst reducing their distress and increasing their ability to engage in their appointments.”