A comparison of multisensory and traditional interventions on inpatient psychiatry and geriatric neuropsychiatry units

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2010 Jan;48(1):24-31. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20091204-03.


Sensory rooms and the use of multisensory interventions are becoming popular in inpatient psychiatry. The empirical data supporting their use are limited, and there is only anecdotal evidence indicating effectiveness in psychiatric populations. The specific aims of this observational pilot study were to determine whether multisensory-based therapies were effective in managing psychiatric symptoms and to evaluate how these interventions compared to traditional ones used in the milieu. The study found that multisensory interventions were as effective as traditional ones in managing symptoms, and participants' Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores significantly improved following both kinds of intervention. Medication administration did not affect symptom reduction. This article explores how multisensory interventions offer choice in symptom management. Education regarding multisensory strategies should become integral to inpatient and outpatient group programs, in that additional symptom management strategies can only be an asset.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / nursing
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Patient Admission*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital*
  • Psychotic Disorders / nursing*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Sensory Art Therapies / nursing*
  • Sensory Art Therapies / psychology
  • Young Adult