Posted by JRS on Sep 19, 2017
Each year, the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights commits to a Community Service theme that guides all volunteer and grant-making efforts. The 2017 theme is Making a Difference in Arlington Heights. This spring, we sought grant applications from organizations interested in launching or expanding programming to serve community residents. Rotary leadership is pleased to announce our six grant winners and introduce their projects.  
(from l. to r. Steve Scogna, CEO NCH, Jon Ridler, President Elect AH Rotary, Dave Ungurean, VP NCH Foundation)
A sensory room relieves stress
A visit to the hospital’s emergency room can be a stressful event for anyone. Yet, for a significant segment of the population, the sights, sounds, and frenetic pace of the ER can be overwhelming. People with developmental disabilities such as autism and ADHD and genetic conditions such as Downs Syndrome find sensory stimulation overwhelming, as do people with brain trauma, behavioral issues, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
For these patients, anxiety and stress levels surge, sometimes seriously compromising both treatment and comfort. Emergency Department personnel struggle to provide the highest and best level of medical care to those in distress.
Accommodating patients with sensory challenges
With $2,500 from a Community Grant from Rotary Club of Arlington Heights, Northwest Community Hospital Foundation plans to convert an existing examination room into a sensory room. An umbrella term that refers to a broad variety of therapeutic spaces, sensory rooms incorporate specialized furniture, equipment and devices, all of which are designed to soothe and/or engage patients—ultimately removing them from the stress of the moment. The NCH Sensory Room will be a decelerating space where emergency personnel may address patient comfort and medical needs more directly and effectively.
Caregivers of such patients will also benefit. “A few years back my son with autism needed an MRI,” parent Jack Macholl noted in the grant application. “A calm waiting environment with a minimum of distractions and wait time can make the hospital experience much more successful for developmentally challenged individuals and families.”
The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights is dedicated to ‘Service Above Self’ and contributes monies raised through our primary fundraisers, Rotary Santa Run and the Special Leisure Services Foundation Classic Golf Outing. Funds are donated through the Arlington Heights Rotary Club's Community Grant Program. For more information on the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and the Community Grant Program, please visit