Charity funded artwork and sound system helps cancer patients keep calm before treatment

Sheffield Hospitals Charity have funded a new sound system and artwork for the radiotherapy impression suite at Weston Park Cancer Hospital.

The idea came about after Selina Hardy, Senior Dosimetrist from the Radiotherapy Physics Department, noticed that the radiotherapy treatment rooms had music playing and thought that patients might benefit from this in the impression suite.

The impression suite is often the first appointment some of the patients have and so they can be a little anxious.

Selina Hardy explained: “A fair few of our patients are very nervous about this process and often get anxious. The appointment involves having to wear a mask which some patients can find claustrophobic. I thought ‘Is there anything we can do to make the room seem a little less clinical? This could potentially improve patient experience by helping them to relax.

“So far the music has been great for both staff and patients. I think it creates a more relaxed environment and we even take requests. We once had a patient who was enjoying Genesis so much we had to remind him that we were there to keep him still – but it was great seeing him have fun.”

“Before we got the charity grant we weren’t able to play any music in the impression suite and the walls were pretty bare. The room was just functional.

“It now has a much more friendly feel to it – to match our very friendly staff. Importantly the artwork is of local sites, the Sheffield Town Hall, The University of Sheffield and the Sheffield train station – this coincides with the rest of the wards at the hospital.

“I thought it was important to have this local link for people with the pictures, rather than just having something generic, the pictures are also very colourful which certainly brightens the place up.

“The overall patient and staff environment has been greatly improved with the addition of the wall art and the music system. Giving our patients the opportunity to choose the music they want to listen to whilst undergoing the procedure is of great benefit, as staff we have noticed a great difference with some of our more vulnerable patients.

“From a staff perspective, it is much nicer to be able to see patients in such a pleasant, calming environment which makes the impression process less daunting because of the artwork and music.”

On average the impression suite sees around 800 patients per year who require some form of immobilisation device or other radiotherapy aid. This number is likely to grow as the department develops new techniques and patients require more sophisticated immobilisation for different treatment areas.

For many the impression suite is beginning of their radiotherapy journey and these improvements will benefit the patients at Western Park Cancer Hospital by making them feel calm and relaxed on the first steps of their journey.