Sensory box makes a real difference

Funeral Sensory Box

We would like to share an amazing idea with you, an idea that was the brainchild of one of our managers, Maura Ireland and her team, and one which we will be putting into practice across Yarrow.

Maura has been working on funeral planning with her team and the people that she supports. Although it’s really important to have this conversation, it can understandably be a very difficult subject to broach. In addition, the people we support may find it harder both to understand what their choices are and also to communicate what they would prefer. Maura came up with a way for the people we support to communicate their preferences more clearly without focusing on death.

Maura’s idea was to put together a sensory box containing items that might be used as part of person’s funeral. Each member of the team got involved and contributed to the box by supplying items. There are silk flowers of many kinds and colours, different coloured silk ribbons, strips of different types of wood, and a collection of aromatherapy oils to choose between:

Sensory Box photo showing flowers, aromatherapy oils and different types of wood
Some of the contents of the sensory box

The people we support spend time exploring the box by looking, touching, smelling and holding the items inside…

Funeral Sensory Box contents showing colourful ribbons and flowers
The silk ribbons are colourful and tactile

This approach has worked really well. For example, one of the people that Maura supports does not like to sit still for too long but was able to take items and return to the box over time and show what his favourites were by how long he spent with each.

The sensory box has been very well received by family members and has made a difficult conversation much easier.

The idea is still evolving, with more suggestions of what to include, and we plan to roll the idea out across all of Yarrow’s services in 2019.

Skills for Care were also really impressed with the funeral box when Maura presented it at our recent Registered Managers Network meeting. They are keen to use it on their website as an example of best practice for managers across the country.

Well done Maura and the team at Brackenbury Road, a great example of how creative thinking will enable the people we support to get involved with and take more control over all aspects of their lives.

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