RAVENNA, Ohio — When it comes to the coronavirus, we know this is a marathon not a sprint. However, despite training for moments like this, maintaining this pace for doctors and nurses can be challenging. Finding the time to hit the reset button can be challenging for those taking care of COVID-19 patients.
"There really is no respite here," said Dr. Francoise Adan, Director of University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network.
Adan is part of a team working to beef up emotional support for University Hospitals’ staff members on the frontline of this pandemic.
"There is something called compassion fatigue. Self-care and resilience are absolutely not negotiable," Adan said.
As the number of coronavirus cases grew, so did the health system's employee assistance program offerings.
"Healthcare providers are not good at taking care of themselves, we prefer to help others. The services have been really highly used,” Adan said.
With patient numbers ticking up, University Hospitals nursing supervisors like Heather Pipes got the green light to create relaxation rooms.
"We were very busy, and everybody was very stressed out," Pipes said.
The rooms give staff a space to hit the reset button.
"Unfortunately, the main thing that we had was a break room or the cafeteria," Pipes said.
Now, the private setting filled with eye masks, stress balls and aromatherapy is giving those providing care a much-needed opportunity to shift the focus to themselves.
"Everybody is doing okay now, it was rough at first. They have a smile on their face, they're relaxed, they enjoy being able to sit in here for a few minutes and take a load off,” Pipes said.
Pipes said the gesture goes a long way.
"Just knowing that there is somebody out there that is looking out for you too,” Pipes said.
When the pandemic finally passes, Dr. Adan expects many of these resources, including the relaxation rooms, will remain in place.
"Self-care means I am basically paying attention to my needs, I am not selfish, I'm just paying attention to my needs. I think it is something that is here to stay," Adan said.
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