March 25, 2020 – To help hospital staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic find time to care for themselves, Richmond University Medical Center has set up a relaxation zone in the hospital’s auditorium. Physicians, nurses and ancillary staff can find quiet solitude to decompress, if just for a few moments. The zone has reduced lighting, lavender fragrances and soothing music playing on overhead speakers. The room’s large projector screen displays shifting images of beaches, forests, waterfalls and other nature scenes.
“Our staff is working around the clock to care for all our patients and doing truly outstanding work under tremendous pressure. Setting up this zone was essential because there is a need for all of us to take time, when we can, to care for our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being,” RUMC president and chief executive officer, Dr. Daniel J. Messina said.
The zone is set up in the hospital’s Sipp Auditorium, located adjacent to the main lobby. It is available for hospital staff to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To ensure compliance with social distancing mandates, no more than 15 people are allowed in at one time, the auditorium can seat over 100 people under normal circumstances. Signs placed on seats spaced out in the auditorium indicate seats people can use and still maintain a safe distance from one another.
“Setting up this zone was just one small way that we could let our entire staff know we are thinking of them and their own mental health needs,” Dr. Messina said.