Airedale Hospital and Community Charity launches Sunshine Sensory Project Appeal to improve hospital experience for children with additional needs

Posted on July 16, 2021 by AireAdmin

The Sunshine Sensory Project aims
to improve the experiences of children visiting Airedale Hospital for surgery
who have additional needs or sensory sensitivities. It was established by a
group of colleagues in the operating department at Airedale Hospital in 2020,
and was initially funded by Airedale Hospital and Community Charity. Thanks to
fundraising and donations from employees and patients, the Charity is now
running a dedicated appeal for the Sunshine Sensory Project.

After listening to feedback from patients
and their families, the team has created a sensory pack full of products
designed to meet the needs of children visiting the department. The sensory
pack includes items such as noise cancelling headphones, tactile and visually
stimulating sensory toys, and picture exchange communication system cards to
assist patients who are not able to communicate their needs verbally. The
department also has a dedicated sensory trolley which includes a relaxing
bubble tube, tactile fibre optics and additional sensory toys.

Recent donations for the project
include a four and a half year old patient named Isaac and his family, who raised
£3,000 towards the project, and Josh and Emily from the Tesla Owners Club who
donated a mini Tesla for children coming to the department.

Karen Taylor, Theatre Clinical
Governance Manager, says:

“Theatre staff always endeavour to
provide patients with the best possible care. The Sunshine Sensory Project
gives us the opportunity to actually speak to individual patients and find out
how we can provide them with the best care and tailor it to suit their needs.”

Rebecca Wright, Theatre Staff Nurse says:

“My son Baxter visited Theatre in
2018 after breaking his leg. Baxter has autism and it struck me how ‘sensory
unfriendly’ our working environment is – harsh lighting, loud noises, strange
faces… There was little available to help children regulate their emotions and
behaviour to be able to calm themselves.”

She continues:
“I then started thinking how we could make visiting theatres a more positive
experience, so I reached out to local schools and parenting groups for
feedback. This is how we came up with the sensory packs and the project
snowballed from there with the help of Jodie [Airedale Charity Manager] and the
rest of the team.”