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'Game changing' rest pods installed for Emergency staff

10/08/2020

Emergency Department staff at Oxford University Hospitals can now take short power naps during their breaks following the installation of specialist rest pods and chairs.

The comfortable rest spaces, which were on loan to the Trust for a trial and used throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, have proven such a hit with staff that Oxford Hospitals Charity has agreed to purchase them for permanent use. 

They allow frontline staff working in our Emergency Departments to recharge during their breaks, or before or after intense or stressful shifts.

Two of the futuristic pods and a chair have been introduced at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury has also had a specialist chair installed.

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: "We are delighted to, in partnership with Oxford Hospitals Charity, install these rest pods and chairs for Emergency Department staff at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals.

"Supporting staff health and wellbeing is a Trust priority, and these facilities support our teams by helping them stay rested and be able to continue providing excellent care to our patients."

The 'EnergyPod' is specifically designed for power napping, enabling staff to rest for a limited, specified amount of time. 

Space-age in style, it features a bed beneath an adjustable privacy visor and, once activated, the pod uses soft lighting and soothing music to help the user relax. The comfortable, recliner-like chairs provide staff another option to grab some rest and relax.

Katy Mimpress, Matron of the John Radcliffe Hospital's Emergency Department, said: "These pods and chairs will make such a positive difference to the Emergency Department teams, as they continue their hard work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The opportunity to fully relax and recover during breaks and after shifts impacts not only on staff, but also on patients, as we are able to return to patient care refreshed and re-energised.

"They are the perfect space for staff to decompress, which has been particularly important during the pandemic."

Michelle Brock, Matron of the Horton General Hospital's Emergency Department, said: "The intensity of work and increased demand make the need for breaks important. A high quality rest break reduces the risk of fatigue and stress.

"Research demonstrates the cognitive benefits of taking brief rest breaks, refreshing and rejuvenating staff. This in turn helps staff to provide better, safer, and more compassionate care when they are fresh and alert."

Anna Hinton, Health and Wellbeing Promotion Specialist at the Trust, said: "The pods we've had on trial have been so well received by staff throughout the pandemic. They are shown to increase alertness and reduce stress which is beneficial for both our staff and our patients. The Centre of Occupational Health and Wellbeing initiated the original trial and are delighted that they have been so supportive to staff wellbeing.

"Feedback has been extremely positive, with staff describing the facilities as 'game changing' and important to their wellbeing.

"It is so heart-warming to know that something sustainable and beneficial for our hard-working frontline staff has emerged from these difficult times."

Costing £32,000, the rest pods and chairs were funded entirely by Oxford Hospitals Charity, thanks to donations from NHS Charities Together and a generous local donor.

Douglas Graham, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: "We are delighted to fund this innovative equipment which will make such a difference to staff working long and intense shifts in the Emergency Departments. 

"There is a wealth of evidence to show that a brief proper rest can revitalise the brain, especially for those working throughout the night. So we are incredibly grateful to our donors who have helped us make this exciting support possible."

Pictured: Katy Mimpress, Matron of the John Radcliffe Hospital's Emergency Department, tries out a rest pod