CardioWall at Great Oaks Mental Health Unit

One month after installing their new CardioWall, SensoryPlus return to Great Oaks Mental Health Unit to find out how the staff and patients are getting on.

Norma Makhanda has been an occupational therapist at Great Oaks for two and a half years. In 2017, Norma had the idea of finding resources which would benefit the patients mental and physical health in an engaging way. “It was a general lack of activity that made me want to find something to bring to Great Oaks that would get our patients moving about”. Norma was on the hunt for equipment that would promote self-led exercise, so staff could carry on their daily work helping clients in other ways. “I looked first at the idea of a gym, but there really wasn’t enough space indoors and would cause access issues.” An outdoor gym was an option, but Norma felt it would be too out-of-the-way whereas she wanted to encourage an inclusive environment.

“I was first introduced to the CardioWall by a colleague, a psychologist.” It wasn’t until an open evening at a secondary school in Doncaster did Norma see a CardioWall for the first time and knew this was the ideal equipment for Great Oaks.

Buying equipment isn’t always a straight forward for organisations such as Great Oaks, as there’s protocol to follow. “We have requirements that any equipment can be cleaned in a certain way for infection control policies”

Within a few weeks, SensoryPlus installed the CardioWall and trained the staff. The CardioWall is simple to use and so staff could easily pass on instructions to patients. Once the SensoryPlus team had left Great Oaks after installation, it was all go from there. They posted the rules on the wall and before long there was a queue from patients (and staff!) wanting to test out this futuristic, highly engaging looking equipment. “It quickly became a talking point for the patients and colleagues. Before long, family members of the patients and other visitors joined in the hype and tried out the CardioWall”. After Norma posted some pictures on Great Oaks’ Twitter page, it was only days before colleagues at other sites around the county came through to see the CardioWall for themselves; some of which have gone on to place orders for a CardioWall in their own sites.

Activity coordinators began using the CardioWall in group environments with astonishing effects. “They began leading competitions and using the CardioWall as an ice breaker in these sessions. Coordinators noticed patients’ moods being lifted from these activities alone”. Norma also reported to us that the CardioWall was proving to even be a confidence booster for patients.

During our re-visit, we spoke to a patient named James, an ex-boxer. He told us how the CardioWall is great for practicing and improving his hand eye coordination. James is one of the many patients and staff who are trying to climb the Great Oaks leader board and shows no signs of slowing down his practices.

Whilst carrying her second child, Norma visited a friend and met occupational therapists on duty. It was her desire to help people that led her to change careers completely. “I wanted to work in an environment where everyday was a blank canvas, but very client centred. I had a desire to make a difference, to raise self-esteem, confidence, coping skills, just to name a few. I am always looking for new innovative ways to bring patients together, as well as staff, to make these happen.” The CardioWall offers different settings, meaning that there’s activities for old and young alike, meaning its use is not limited to certain demographics or conditions. The powerful technology and inviting displays of sound, colour and light make the CardioWall a huge addition to Great Oaks and for the patients, staff, family members and visitors.

For more information, or to test our demo equipment at our offices in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, contact us on 01302 645 685 or email

View the CardioWall here