Mum’s bag of calm helping young patients at minor injuries unit

Published on: 04 Nov 2017

A SIMPLE “bag of calm” created by the Coalpit Heath mum of a boy with autism is being used at Yate Minor Injuries Unit to help other children struggling to cope with the medical surroundings.
It is thought the unit, which is run by care and health provider Sirona, is the first of its type to offer such support to children and their families and matron Sarah Tosh now hopes other emergency departments will adopt it.
 Sarah discussed how to improve the experience for autistic children with Kelly Lloyd when her son Rowan, six, hurt his ankle playing football.
Kelly immediately created a bag complete with sensory toys and a brightly coloured weighted cuddle blanket for use in the unit, which already has a child friendly distraction box in the clinic rooms and a quiet room where people can wait if necessary.
Kelly, 41, a mother-of-four, said: “It is so lovely that Sarah and Sirona embraced this. We all know the pressure that staff are under but they are taking the time to make a difference.
“Anxiety levels for children with autism can increase very quickly. I want to do as much as I can to raise awareness.”
Jo Marie Shanks, from the community organisation South Glos Parents and Carers, said: “We like celebrating good practice and we are keen to promote this as it is improving access to services and reducing stress levels for families.”
  Sarah said: “Children with autism need a different approach as they cannot communicate how they feel.
“If a parent or carer informs our receptionist that their child is autistic, we ensure they are seen quickly as we know they do not like lots of noise and can be agitated by lights or sounds. There are different triggers which can cause them to be upset.
“The bag is full of sensory related items which will help keep them calm while they are being assessed and I’m sure it will make a difference. The weighted blanket is like receiving a hug as it makes someone feel secure.”

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