PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, so does the stress on our frontline workers.
Sometimes a massage chair and some calm music is all you need to unwind. That’s the case for Madison Childers, an RN in the ICU at Allegheny Health Network’s Jefferson Hospital.
“Sitting in the massage chair for sure, that’s my favorite,” said Childers.
Childers has been treating coronavirus patients since the pandemic started.
“The workload seems to have tripled,” said Childers.
Childers said the emotional stress also takes its toll.
“It’s never easy, but I’ve had to stand there at the bedside and hold their hands while family members and loved ones couldn’t come in for their last couple of moments,” Childers said.
These were things that Kelly Kassab, COO of AHN Jefferson and Canonsburg hospitals, said she noticed right away. So the hospitals took action.
“One day, we are telling them they don’t have to wear a mask. Then the next day, they were wearing masks,” said Kassab. “We could feel the stress building, and one of the ideas was to give them a respite room they could go and get away from it all.”
That’s how the “Serenity Room” came about a month into the pandemic. It’s a room that has massage chairs, stress balls, eye masks, music and dimmed lights. There’s one at every AHN hospital, and Childers said a lot of her coworkers use them.
“We’re able to help each other out more and not feel as stressed and take a couple of minutes for ourselves,” said Childers.
She said that is so crucial for workers, especially now.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas: Is the burnout a real thing?
Childers: Yeah, it is.
“I go home and I am exhausted. Obviously, I shower, but some days I don’t even feel like showering. I’m just exhausted mentally and physically,” said Childers.
If workers need additional help, AHN also offers a support line employees can call 24/7.