In Australia, there is a National Policy to reduce Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health Services.
Sensory Modulation has been recommended as one of the strategies to assist with reducing and eliminating seclusion and restraint. We are often asked how this would work.
Ideally, sensory modulation items would be available and easily accessible in mental health units and nursing homes. This would mean that if someone started to becomes distressed, agitated or angry, they would be able to easily use one of the available sensory modulation items. This could assist them to calm down. This can include items such as ice gel packs, weighted cushions, warm blankets or wraps, weights or exercise machines. Having these items in some environments requires a balancing of the benefits of having something that can calm someone down vs the risks of having these items on the units. In some places, sensory modulation items are only available in a room or at the nursing station. This then means that an agitated or angry person requires support to access the items or the room when they need it, in a timely manner. At Sensory Modulation Brisbane, we have a preference for sensory modulation items and calming activities to be generally available in units so that the person can easily access it when they need it. Some items (eg weighted items) require additional training or information from an Occupational Therapist.