Why Psychiatric Comfort Room Design?
A psychiatric comfort room design is one of the main focuses in many psychiatric units throughout North America studies have shown that sensory room or comfort rooms as we like to call them are used to lower the number of seclusion’s and restraints in hospital environments.
Many psychiatric units are looking at creating safe and secure environments such as these rooms.
Why is psychiatric comfort room design so important?
Psychiatric comfort room design as an alternative to the conventional time-out areas, these rooms are designed with comfortable furnishings, calming colors, ambient lighting, soft music and other sensory equipment. These go to help minimize incidents from unsettled individuals when they are in a state of stress and need to be calmed.
It has been proven that comfort rooms are a success in reducing the restraint and seclusion incidents and at the same time reducing patients stress levels. The comfort room has also been used in a recent report in reducing client-to-staff incidents when either or both parties got injured during an incident.
Location as part of the psychiatric comfort room design.
When an existing hospital wants to create a sensory room or comfort room it is often located in an area that has previously been used either as an unoccupied room or for seclusion.
It is essential that the comfort room is in an area of the hospital and that is easily accessible for any patients or staff were utilizing it. Usually the room is found very close to the nurses’ station, to ensure that the clients are supervised at all times.
However many new facilities are being built is specifically designed with comfort rooms, here both patients and staff offer their input and planning the rooms and what they need in them. This ensures that the comfort room meets the needs of both clients and staff, if it is been found that any facilitate that does not include client and staff input regularly go unused.
Another option to consider how to supervise the comfort room when it is being utilized them by clients, if any specialist equipment is in the room supervision is required when anyone is in there. However many psychiatric facilities use flat screen TVs as part of the sensory experience but unfortunately these need protecting them with non-loop TV housings. These comfort room TV housings are designed specifically to protect the TV from damage but most importantly to protect the clients from self-harm as well as harming others. There have been recent incidents when clients have damaged TVs and used the broken glass as a weapon, but these TV enclosures prevent this type of incident.
A well designed comfort room will be used by clients and staff to calm and reassure clients that they are safe and being cared for. We have to protect the vulnerable in our care and psychiatric comfort room design is one way to achieve this.