STROKE patients at Aintree University Hospital are benefitting from a new relaxation room, which has been designed to help combat some of the psychological effects of a stroke.
The room, which is a converted office space, includes sensory lighting, relaxing music and essential oils, such as frankincense and ylang ylang, which are known for their calming and therapeutic properties.
Dr Claire Cullen, Consultant Physician and Clinical Director for Stroke at Aintree, said: “I believe Aintree is one of the first NHS hospitals with a dedicated room such as this. A stroke affects your brain, which is what controls your emotions and behaviours, so having the space to address any psychological issues alongside the medical care offered on our stroke unit is fantastic news for our patients and really enhances the psychology services provided on the ward.”
Dr Mark Griffiths, Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Aintree, said: “There is an increasing recognition among the medical community that stroke patients need to be cared for in a way which addresses their medical and psychological needs at the same time.
“A typical hospital ward is a bright, busy and noisy environment. If you’re a stroke patient experiencing cognitive, emotional or behavioural problems as a result of your stroke then having a separate space where you can take some time out, and also have confidential conversations with your clinical team, is invaluable.
“I’m not aware of any other NHS hospitals having these facilities but I think it will become more common as we understand more about the psychological effects of having a stroke.”
The room was made possible thanks to the determination of one of the stroke team’s administration staff.
Danielle McDermott, Stroke Data and Quality Co-ordinator, spearheaded the project with support from the hospital’s Estates department and the fundraising efforts of her colleagues.
Danielle said: “While I’ve not experienced a stroke, I have had my own periods of low mood in the past so I know first-hand what a positive difference it can make to be in a calming environment like this. That’s why I was so determined to make this happen for our stroke patients at Aintree and I’m delighted that their response has been so good. We’ve had dozens of patients and relatives making use of the relaxation room since it opened in November.”
In the coming months the team hopes to start offering holistic therapies, such as hand massages and reflexology, to stroke patients.