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Children’s multi-sensory unit

Geraldine Thompson, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

Photograph of an interactive multi-sensory unit used to distract and comfort anxious children receiving treatment in hospital. The unit can be used either in a multi-sensory room or directly next to the patient’s bed. It can provide a relaxing environment while stimulating different senses; for example, patients can watch colours change in the bubble tube while touching the outside to feel it gently vibrate. It is approximately 1.5 m tall and includes a bubble tube, fibre optic lights, mirrors, a solar projector and a sound system. Multi-sensory stimulation can also help people with learning disabilities, autism and dementia and can be used outside hospitals (e.g. in schools and nursing homes). This unit was photographed at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

How was this image captured?

“The difficulty in photographing the unit was to capture all the sensory elements working at once,” explains Geraldine. “To do this, we had to darken the room completely and therefore made the choice to not have a patient included within the scene. Balancing the light emitted by the unit, capturing its essence as a sensory unit and ensuring the image was captured as sharply as one could in low-light conditions was the challenge. The unit is 5 feet tall, but I wanted to play with the concept of size in the way I captured the image and leave the size to one’s imagination.”