An Exploration of the Use of a Sensory Room in a Forensic Mental Health Setting: Staff and Patient Perspectives

Sophie Wiglesworth, Louise Farnworth

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the increased use of sensory rooms, there is little published evidence related to their benefits. The purpose of this study was to explore staff and patient perspectives of the use of a sensory room in an Australian forensic mental health setting. Staff and patients on a forensic hospital unit were recruited for this study. Focus group data was obtained from the perspective of the healthcare staff. A sensory assessment identified patients' sensory preferences. The details of the patients sensory room use and stress experienced before and after using the sensory room were recorded. The results showed a mean decrease in stress that was attributed to the use of the sensory room. Stress reducing benefits of sensory room use may improve a patient's experience within a forensic mental health facility while applying a recovery approach. As a limitation of the study, patient stress was rated on an un-validated scale. Further research is needed for greater insight and evidence in evaluating the use of sensory rooms in forensic mental health settings in reducing stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalOccupational therapy international
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Comfort room
  • Forensic mental health
  • Occupational therapy
  • Seclusion and restraint reduction
  • Sensory room

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