Staff and students of Counties Manukau Health experienced sensory modulation in an interactive activity held on Monday 7th and Wednesday 9th of March.
The activity, Making Sense of Your Senses, formed part of Patient Experience Week 2016. Patient Experience Week is a programme of activities held between the 7th and 11th of March that focusses on patients, whaanau (family) and staff working together to improve services and care delivery.
Healthcare is a high-stress environment. Patients face the fear and uncertainty of illness or injury to themselves or their loved ones, and staff deal with heavy workloads, physically and emotionally demanding jobs and constrained resources on a daily basis. Effective techniques for coping with stress are essential to avoid burnout.
“Sensory modulation is a tool to help people manage stress,” said Maurice O’Rourke, Workforce Development Co-ordinator for Mental Health.
Sensory modulation works by helping people to explore their senses as a way to relax and provide distraction from pressures and stress.
Making Sense of Your Senses offered sensory experiences such as colouring in, aromas, weighted soft toys, stress balls, jigsaw puzzles, beanbags and blowing bubbles.
As well as trying the sensory modulation activities, staff and students were invited to contribute reflections on the theme ‘What matters to me?’ to a communication tree. Similar trees are also in place at community mental health clinics, where reflections are collected from patients and staff. Comments from the trees will be combined into a Wordle and used to educate staff about what good communication means to our patients and colleagues.