For behavioral health patients who are often isolated, the sense of control is important during treatment – especially for children. Thanks to a generous donation from Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis a therapy room for these patients recently opened at Mercy. The Mercy Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Room, located in the Mercy Behavioral Health building, is the first of its kind in St. Louis and will be used for kids hospitalized with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
A Snoezelen® multi-sensory area is a safe and non-threatening environment that incorporates a specialized selection of sensory equipment and materials helping patients adapt their responses to sensory stimulation and advance education and therapy goals.
Dr. Duru Sakhrani, medical director for child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry at Mercy Children’s Hospital, says the room will provide patients a multi-dimensional environment to help them in self soothing. “It takes sights, sounds, textures and weights to divert the patient from the negative preoccupation and experience a calming environment with supervision,” she says.
Mercy’s room includes features such as floor water panel, color changing panel, solar projector, interactive bubble tube, bean bag chairs, massage mat, fiber optic spray, wall and floor cushions, light diffraction panels, disco ball, touch screen activities, VibroMusic Recliner, milky way carpet and more.
The blend of signs, sounds, textures, aromas and motion provide stimulation of the primary sensory systems and can be modified to meet each patient’s sensory needs. Patients and their therapy team interact freely with the different components to create a positive environment, control the level of stimuli, adapt responses to stimulation, experience easier transition to task, and perform and behave in a more functional manner.
“It is our hope to give these young children the tools they need to reach their full potential and improve communication, trust, and enhance treatment plans,” said Patty Arnold, CFRE, vice president of philanthropy at Mercy. “We thank Variety for its continued support of this important project.”
Mercy Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing education, prevention and treatment for individuals with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, as well as emotional and behavioral disabilities.