by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | May 04, 2021
Michigan Medicine has invested $100,000 to install three recharge rooms, areas designed to reduce stress and improve performance of healthcare workers, at its Ann Arbor medical center.
Funding for the rooms came from separate donations made by two couples, Ken and Kimberly Whipple and Ken and Jeanne Levy-Church. Tech and design company Studio Elsewhere installed its solution, Recharge Room: A place of calm in the middle of it all, in the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Med Inn and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“On any given day, countless clinicians look for an oasis to pause, reflect and ready themselves for the next challenge. Too many of us have done this outside patient care areas, call or work rooms, or in hallways without the privacy or intimacy needed for these critical moments,” said Dr. Vineet Chopra, division chief of hospital medicine at Michigan Medicine, in a statement.
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The rooms stimulate the senses using dimmed lighting, relaxing music, socially-distanced, cozy seating and tranquil imagery projected on a video wall. These elements are expected to help induce short-term decreases in blood pressure, stress hormones and heart rate. Future plans include adding aromatherapy.
Michigan Medicine is the first hospital outside the east coast to implement Recharge Rooms. Mount Sinai Health System in NYC reported that its healthcare workers experienced a 60% decrease in stress in recharge rooms following the first surge of COVID-19 cases.
At least 25% of Michigan Medicine employees have reported feeling burnt out. Even before the pandemic, a survey of nurses showed 62% felt burnt out, 43% were overwhelmed by their workload and 45% experienced anxiety and/or depression.
The recharge rooms will also be available for small group debriefs after difficult events and will be part of a study by the University of Michigan’s School of Nursing and Michigan Medicine’s Department of Nursing to study the ability of the rooms to increase resiliency, reduce stress and improve emotional and mental health. Data collected during the study will help decide the use of the rooms once the pandemic has ended.