The Beacon Centre

Project Background

The Beacon Centre is a 16-bed specialist adolescent unit for young people aged 12-17 who may have difficulty coping with emotional, social, family, and mental health problems.

Specialist staff at the centre work to support residents through a mixture of therapy and medication, but they were looking to offer a more holistic approach to their care, which prompted them to get in touch with our sensory team!

The centre wished to transform a previously disused ‘L’ shaped room into an accessible multisensory space. The room’s design would have to be inclusive of all of their resident’s needs; a soft space where residents can calm and relax, as well as offering interactive elements to stimulate and re-energise those who might be feeling low.

 

Sensory Project Design Brief

  • A multifunctional space that can be used for calming/grounding and stimulating/energising residents.
  • The ability for interactivity so that users can create a personalised sensory experience.
  • A robust, strong and safe design

 

Our Plan

The Beacon Centre Case Study

Grounding/Energising

It was an exciting challenge to design a space that could be as active as it could be calming, so residents could use the room no matter their mood.

We started by fitting the room with made-to-measure bespoke safety padding, soft grey along the walls, and midnight black on the floor. Although neutral, the shades offer a calming ambience and a contrast that will help users centre and ground themselves in the space.

If users are looking for a calming sensory session, they can lie back on the cosy, vibroacoustic bench set, listen and feel their favourite music, and therapeutically watch the clouds float across the magical LED Sky Ceiling tiles. Or, if they are feeling active, they could get up and explore the 300+ interactive games and activities on the omiVista floor projector.

The Beacon Centre Case Study

Safe & Secure Sensory

Our design team ensured the sensory space was safe for low-risk mental health users to explore independently. Almost all of the sensory resources in the room were securely installed into the room’s ceiling, secure, and out of the way – leaving floor space for movement, exploration and play. Whilst the few loose resources, like the sound system and Solar 250 projector, were safely housed in a cabinet.

The Beacon Centre Case Study

Personal Experiences

Feeling like you’re in control of your surroundings is a key part of the recovery from several mental health disorders – especially conditions like Anxiety or OCD – so we designed this sensory room with individual control and personalisation in mind.

Residents can use a smart device and the MSE Room Control App to transform the space into their personal wellbeing centre. Whether choosing to light the room with the calming glow of the Hurricane Tubes or casting their favourite Netflix shows onto the big wall projector, it allows users the chance to express themselves authentically.

The Beacon Centre is a part of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust.

More Rehab

More Rehab is a specialist rehabilitation centre based in Sheffield providing physiotherapy, neurological rehab, and paediatric therapy for clients across the Yorkshire and Humber area.

Anna Wilkinson (More Rehab’s Managing Director) got in touch with our sensory team as she was looking to create a brand new Sensory Integration Room. Her team could use the space to provide important Sensory Integration and Occupational Therapies to nurture clients’ physical and mental development.

As always, our team of sensory experts were thrilled to start working with Anna to create a sensory area perfect for her clients and her business.

Designing More Rehab’s Sensory Integration Space

We worked closely with More Rehab’s team of Occupational Therapists to make sure the room design matched the needs of their wide array of clients.

Sensory Integration Rooms are used by lots of people with different needs and abilities, so coming up with an inclusive design that will support everyone was an important job.

Our design reflected the need for flexibility. One corner features a large O-Frame & Platform Swing for vestibular development and therapy, whilst another corner is transformed into a therapeutic sensory space. The centre of the room has been designed to be used transitionally to suit each individual therapy session.

Ruth House

Ruth House is a specialist residential home for children and young adults on the Autism Spectrum. Run by Surrey County Council, the home provides a place to live and equips residents with the life skills they need to develop, flourish, and grow into independent members of society. Rhino UK were contacted by Ruth House to create a specialist padding solution for one of their residents and transform her apartment into a safe living space.

Ruth House contacted our design team as they needed a special solution to support the wellbeing of one of their residents – Lucy*.

Lucy has a visual impairment, ASD and requires round the clock care by a team of OT’s and support staff. Lucy has a tendency is to bang her head and body against the apartment’s walls and hard surfaces, self-harming, something Ruth House were keen to curb. That’s where our sensory design team got involved, ready to transform Lucy’s apartment into a relaxing, safe, sensory space.

 

Project Requirements

  • Safety padding to cover the walls, floors, doors, and radiators in Lucy’s four-room apartment.
  • Padding that is thin enough to accommodate fire doors.
  • Coloured padding that compliments the apartment’s interiors.
  • A quick turnaround to minimise disturbances to Lucy’s routines and schedules.

 

Our Design Solution

We worked closely with the project’s key stakeholders – the local council’s building surveyor and Lucy’s Occupational Therapist (OT) – so that our sensory design team could create a space that would work for Lucy, her support staff, Ruth House, and Surrey County Council.

Bespoke Padding

Our safety padding is made to measure, ensuring a snug fit throughout Lucy’s apartment. No hard space was left unpadded, radiators were boxed in, corridor walls lined, and doors comfortably covered. To meet fire regulations, floor padding around doorways was ultra-thin to allow for the easy opening/closing of doors whilst ensuring Lucy’s safety.

Living room space decorated in bright yellow safety padding.

Colour Coordinated

Lucy’s visual impairment was also integrated into the padding’s design; each space in her apartment had its own unique coloured pads, yellow in the living room, cream in the bedroom, and a bright blue along the hall. The contrast in the colours would help Lucy distinguish which space she’s in, allowing her to explore her apartment independently and with confidence.

Corridor made safe with padding along walls and floor

Efficient Install

Our install team worked round the clock to ensure the project was completed quickly and efficiently, minimising disruption to Lucy’s routine.

Living room space with grey floor padding and warm yellow wall padding

 

*Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of the clients.

 

St Andrew’s Healthcare

St Andrew’s Healthcare is a specialist mental health charity providing care for those with complex mental health problems. They needed a flexible padding solution that could be used across one of their transitional wards, where padding could easily be put up or removed to suit each patient’s needs quickly and effectively.

 

Removable Safety Padding

St Andrew’s Healthcare is a specialist mental health charity providing care for those with complex mental health problems. They needed a flexible padding solution that could be used across one of their transitional wards, where padding could easily be put up or removed to suit each patient’s needs quickly and effectively.

 

Project Requirements:

  • Removable & Secure: Padding that can be easily installed and removed by the nursing team, but not so easily removed by their patients.
  • Anti-Ligature & Infection Control Safe: To ensure patients safety and to meet healthcare infection control guidelines.
  • A Flexible Solution: Padding that could be used across a range of the wards different sized rooms.

 

Rhino’s Padding Solution

Removable & Secure

Narrow Padding: Thinner and narrower safety padding was used for easy assembly and transportation by the wards nursing staff. Measuring only 500mm in width, the special padding provides the same protection levels as thicker fixed padding.

Brackets & Magnets: The padding is safely secured to the room’s walls using a dual bracket and magnet system. The brackets along the top of the padding are kept out of the way of prying hands, strongly bolting the pads to the wall. Whilst powerful magnetic strips lining the pads’ ends stop them from being easily ripped off the walls.

 

Anti-Ligature & Infection Control Safe

Magnetic Wooden Beams: In keeping with the room’s aesthetic, detachable magnetic hardwood beams have been used to cover up the padding brackets, removing the risk of ligatures and ensuing patients safety when they’re left alone. The beams offer a similar hard-wearing strength of a fixed panel and the flexibility of a removable Velcro pad. When the padding isn’t being used, the wooden beams blend in as part of the room’s decor, creating a calming environment.

Infection Control Safe: Our handmade padding is tightly stitched with hardwearing, easy to clean vinyl, perfect for shared use in infection control environments.

 

A Flexible Solution

Conscious Convenience: Accessible cut-outs in the padding were widened to accommodate the different location of plugs and switches across the ward. This special design feature offers patients and staff access to the rooms key features without compromising safety.

Purposeful Padding: Standard padding is typically made to measure, but St Andrew’s wanted their removable padding to fit a variety of different sized rooms for full flexibility on the ward – which presented us with a new challenge. We used narrower pads that could easily be used in a mix and match style to fit each room type; for ease of use, the padding was colour coded with the wall brackets, so staff wouldn’t have a hard time configuring the room’s padding, speeding up assembly times.

Light blue wall padding highlights accessible cut outs for plugs and light switches

Glasgow Royal Hospital

Rhino UK delivered and installed interactive and immersive sensory spaces across multiple wards when this hospital was built.

 

Royal Chesterfield Hospital

Rhino UK designed and installed a accessible sensory room and soft play space for the children’s department.

Rachel House Hospice

Rhino UK designed and installed a multi-sensory and interactive soft play room in unique circular spaces.

Prestwick Care Homes

Rhino UK designed a collection of bespoke sensory tactile wall panels to support and engage residents with dementia.