The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has become the first acute Trust in the UK to use a Sensory Pod for patients. The Sensory Pod is a futuristic, calming space for children and adults with disabilities to regulate their moods, and is used in schools, universities, libraries and homes.

It has been installed in the Fracture Clinic, part of the Trauma and Orthopaedic Department at New Cross Hospital, on a trial basis for 12 months to help ease anxiety in patients, and has already proved a hit with younger visitors. The enclosed eight-foot by four foot space, which has been decorated with a nautical theme, has minor LED lighting and has music piped in via Bluetooth speakers.

Costing around £6,500, it provides a calming and sensory space for users with autism, ADHD, sensory issues, as well as sufferers of anxiety and panic attacks. A two-way window allows the user to connect with those outside but can be changed to one-way if the user is too stressed, allowing parents and carers to check up on the user.

The Pod has been used successfully in other places such as airports and libraries. Nicki Vanes, Nurse Lead, Continuous Quality Improvement at the Trust, said: “We wanted to look at providing a safe, relaxing place for our patients who have learning disabilities and or other anxiety-type issues who attend the TO clinics.

“Waiting in a clinic can be scary for some of our patients, so the clinical team were very interested in trialling out this system to improve patients’ experience in an outpatient setting.”

The Pod has been supplied and fitted by Murray’s Medical Equipment from Dublin, who have had multiple orders for the equipment from across Ireland. Michelle Wilding, Senior Sister at the Trust, is working closely with the Learning Disabilities team to improve care for patients with learning disabilities when they visit the department.

Another aim of this project is to reduce high levels of non attendances among these patients. She says the work they are doing has already had the desired effect. Michelle said: “The Sensory Pod is a very welcome addition to Fracture Clinic. It is also welcomed by the parents as a distraction for the child whilst waiting for their appointments. The feedback has been very positive so far.”

Andy Haines, General Manager, Murray’s Medical UK, said: “In the climate we’re living in, the need for safe, calming spaces is getting more and more and is increasingly important for some vulnerable groups of people.

“We’re delighted to have introduced The Sensory Pod to New Cross and look forward to hearing positive feedback from users.”