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Special room at Santa Maria hospital gives healthcare staff a break from coronavirus chaos

Posted at 9:13 AM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 12:22:03-04

The stress of dealing with potential coronavirus patients is weighing on healthcare workers across the country but a Central Coast hospital now has a place for staff to decompress.

A new room at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria allows hospital staff to step away from the chaos.

Sarah Phillips, a clinical educator at Marian Regional Medical Center, came up with the idea for a relaxation room after noting the mental and physical toll the added workload and risk of exposure was having on her colleagues.

"It's hard, you know, we're human as well, we have our own families, our own lives," Philips said. "We're answering the call as nursing and healthcare professionals."

The usual stress that comes with a career of caring for others has intensified as the rate of coronavirus infections increase.

"We come to work and put our nursing and healthcare professional hats on and grind, get it down, and we do it," Phillips said.

Across the country, stories of healthcare professionals with too many new patients and limited supplies are constantly emerging.

To help her colleagues cope with this new normal, Phillips created a room within the hospital where staff can regroup.

"There's a recliner they can sit in, a neck massager, aromatherapy station set up," Phillips said.

The room also includes mood lighting, light-hearted magazines, and other relaxation aids that have all been donated by strangers from Santa Maria to Cayucos.

Phillips said she loves seeing her colleages come out of the room with a smile and smelling of lavender.

For care providers on the front line, a brief step to the sidelines is the break they need to keep going.

"Many times, they've said they needed this so much, thank you, how did you know?" Phillips said. "It's been great. It's made a huge difference in the morale, brought the stress level down."

Phillips initially planned to open just one room but received such positive feedback and enough donations to open a second room.

If you have any items you'd like to donate for the room, you can contact the Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation at 805-739-3595.