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Multi-sensory room gives children respite from hospital treatments

Galisano Children's Hospital

In the midst of treatments, tubes and needles, there's a place for patients at the Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse to go and find some peace.  A one-of-a-kind multi-sensory room takes kids away from the stress of a hospital setting.

The music is soothing, there are tubes carrying bubbles suspended in scented water, and a lava lamp projects on the wall.  There is a heated water bed, and a swing.  Most importantly, says child life specialist Gina Lozito Yorton, it is very different from the everyday sounds and sights of a pediatric hospital wing.

"In this room it's all soundproofed. So you can't hear the bells and the lights from the hospital environment that can be so stimulating for kids.  This is quiet and relaxing," said Yorton.

It's where she often takes young patients for a break, especially following treatments.

"Usually I use it when they are over-stimulated and they need to come and de-stress and have some quiet time," said Yorton.

She says it's the only place these kids can have some control over their lives. "When we bring kids into a room like this, it's a one-on-one, so the kids have total control. It's calming; they can change the lights in the room to another color, so the lights in the room, so the room is based on what they feel and what input they really want," she said. Yorton says being able to keep stress levels down, not only relaxes children, but promotes the healing process.

This is the only children's hospital in the country that has a multi-sensory room, and while Yorton sees the benefits, the hospital plans to do research in the next year to quantify its impact.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.