Sensory Modulation


Yesterday I attended a sensory modulation forum. This approach was targeting reducing selection and restraint.

The speaker was an American OT by the name of Tina Champagne.

Some of the concepts were to get in early with an agitated/distressed patient's and introduce them to some form of simulation. What I was shown was pictures of sensory modulation rooms which had bean bags, vibrating chairs, nice pictures on the walls, music etc etc. Weighted blankets and lava lamps were also mentioned.

My concern started to elevate when although not sold as a seclusion/restraint replacement but more as a tool mental health staff could use.

I paid attention to the make up of the room, most attendees were OT's or psychologists. Looking at the age and gender make up my guess was that less than 10% of the room had ever been involved in restraint or seclusion. Or ever been face to face with a psychotic patient that wants to do serious harm to you.

So here's a product being pitched at a room full of health professionals as means of reducing restraint and seclusion.

I work in a forensic mental health unit and deal with some of the most dangerous people this country has. If you try alternatives with this patient group you seriously risk your own safety and your colleagues.

At the end of the day I walked out of the room shaking my head in disbelief. I'm sure there is a patient group out there that would respond well to sensory modulation (elderly, children, depressed) but using this approach on psychotic forensic patients that cannot be rationalized with!!

I just had to get this off my chest as its been eating away at me.

If anyone reading this works in a forensic unit and has a sensory modulation room/approach I would love to know how well its reducing restraint/seclusion.

I also posted this in psychiatric nursing forum. Just to cover my bases.