NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Front-line health care heroes have worked long hours for several weeks with COVID-19 patients, and at places such as Saint Peter's University Hospital, there's help those who have been helping others.
Saint Peter’s has been making additional support available to doctors, nurses, technicians and other health care workers dealing with the stress and anxiety of COVID-19 on a daily basis.
The hospital has opened an interior and exterior sanctuary for daily respite, as well as a recently launched support group to care for its healthcare workers.
It's important, considering health care professionals' emotional and psychological health has become a concern at hospitals across the United States.
One clinical psychologist interviewed by CNN referred to a growing phenomenon termed "second victims" in which health care providers experience trauma related to a patient's care.
Here's how Saint Peter's is helping its staff cope during this health crisis.
Saint Peter’s Sanctuary
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Saint Peter’s Sanctuary comprises interior and exterior spaces designed to help staff and physicians re-energize as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
It offers escape from everyday demands, with the goal to assist in the reduction of stress and anxiety that frontline healthcare workers have been dealing with.
Open on a first-come, first-serve basis, social distancing requirements are followed at all times.
The Exterior Sanctuary consists of a gazebo, as well as lounge chairs and a hanging swing where staff members can get some quiet time to think or just sit and enjoy a snack or meal.
Sanitary wipes are provided for cleaning surfaces of tables and chairs.
Interior Sanctuary amenities include lounge chairs, a massage chair, aromatherapy and emotional well-being resources, plus a tea station.
“Masks-off” Support Group
The hospital launched a support group on May 13 to further support staff members dealing with the stressors of COVID-19
The group will meet two times a month for an hour. It’s led by Jim Spaulding, RN and Stephanie Fitzsimmons, RN.
“Masks-off” is meant to describe the safe space where individuals can share what they are dealing with various situations. Masking protocols remain in effect at the hospital and will continue indefinitely.
The size of the group will be limited to ensure social distancing.