Recharge Rooms provide respite for Cwm Taf Morgannwg staff

Recharge Rooms are being set up in our hospitals to help staff manage their mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus crisis.

The rooms are providing quiet spaces for Cwm Taf Morgannwg employees to take a break from the pressures of working during the Covid outbreak, with the chance to take part in relaxing activities, such as puzzles and knitting, and to practice mindfulness in a peaceful environment.

The Recharge Room at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr has been created by Cardiopulmonary Unit acting manager Sandra Davies, with help from senior cardiac physiologist Julia Hannon, in a clinical room not currently being used. Julia was recently appointed one of a number of arts and health champions within Cwm Taf Morgannwg, adding wellbeing champion to her role as Coronavirus started to spread.

She said: “Hospitals are always such busy places, with constant noise whether you’re on the ward, in the staff room or in the canteen. We thought a quiet room would be somewhere for staff to go and just ‘be’ when they are feeling stressed or in need of five minutes away from the pressures of the job.

“They can go on their own or with others and have time to breathe. We have furnished the room with soft cushions and blankets, puzzles, knitting and a roller massage, and we’ve also brought in some candles, which we can’t light but they have a calming scent. There’s even a remote control car! So far, the knitting and the car are definitely the most popular activities.”

The concept of quiet spaces had been starting to take shape before Coronavirus, through wellbeing projects created by arts and health coordinator Esyllt George and volunteers like Julia. With the arrival of Covid, and staff facing more pressures than ever, Sandra was able to implement the idea at Prince Charles as a natural progression.

Recharge Rooms have also been set up at the Royal Glamorgan and Princess of Wales hospitals, with glowing feedback from staff. “The response has been so positive,” added Julia. “We’re encouraging staff to keep any talk about Coronavirus away from the Recharge Rooms, so people can take a break from it when needed.”

Julia and Esyllt are also encouraging staff, patients and visitors to create artwork focusing on what ‘community’ means to them during the pandemic. Staff and their families have been sending in photos and drawings, which are laminated and placed on staff support boards in the Recharge Rooms, including one drawing by a colleague’s three-year-old daughter in support of his fellow workers.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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