Snoezelen Machine

snozelen cables

Whitby Patients Experience A New Kind of Therapy

It's Friday afternoon and the activity room at Lakeridge Health's Whitby site is filled with coloured lights. There's a rotating globe light, a bubble tube and fiber optics. There are also small rubber toys that light up when they're hit off hard surface, like a table.

"We're doing snoezelen today," says Karen Jamieson, Recreation Therapist.

Snoezelen [SNOOZE-el-en] is multi-sensory therapy, especially good for people with Alzheimer's, dementia or other types of cognitive impairment.

"The word 'snoezelen' means to relax and to explore," says Karen. "For some people, it's very stimulating. For others, it's relaxing. It depends on the day and on the person."


More than just fun

People love the snoezelen because it's fun. But Karen says the machine has therapeutic value too.

"A lot of it is about control. When people come into a hospital, they lose the ability to have that independence. So when we get them in this program it's really about them having control, letting them direct the program, letting them explore with the material."

Peggy Rice is a nurse practitioner at Lakeridge Health's Whitby site. She says the snoezelen machine can be an alternative to medication.

"Most of our patients have cognitive issues and will have behaviours like agitation, irritation and aggression. Snoezelen can address those behaviours without the need for us to use medication. It's colours, it's visual, it's hearing, it's sensation, it's touch. It's dealing with things at a different level."

Made possible by Donor Support

Snoezelen machines are expensive but thanks to the support of our community, Karen was able to buy Whitby's in December of 2015 - an early Christmas gift for many staff and patients. 

"Snoezelen comes in many forms. We chose to get a cart because we can move it around. We can set it up in a common area, or we can bring it to people in their room," she says.

Karen and the recreation therapy team use the machine regularly, and Karen says patients get excited when they see the big cart coming down the hall.

"One of the reasons I wanted to work at Lakeridge Health is that we take care of our patients on a deeper level," says Karen. "We do all we can to help people have the best quality of life."

You too can help Lakeridge Health purchase new and innovative equipment such as the Snoezelen Machine. Click here to make your donation today.