Published on: 7 May 2020

A new ‘chill room’ at Sunderland Royal Hospital is offering a haven for staff, away from the strains and stresses of fighting Covid-19.

Senior nurses had the idea for providing the quiet and relaxing area for staff seeking a complete break during their shifts. 

Situated in the Emergency Department (ED) bereavement room, which is closed off to visitors during the pandemic, the room has soft lighting, gentle music and tea and coffee facilities. Staff nurse and amateur photographer Derrick Johnson provided images for the wall.

The room is available to staff working anywhere in the hospital. To comply with social distancing guidelines and offer a degree of privacy, it is restricted to three people at a time.   

ED sister Lesley Young said the idea was to create a space where colleagues could switch off completely.

Lesley said: “We do have a staff room where you can grab a cup of tea and take a break but, quite often, the TV is on, with 24/7 news. Because of the pressures and stresses we are going through at the moment, we wanted a place to go to get away from everything, take a moment and just chill.

“The chill room, for a maximum of three people, is somewhere quiet and relaxing where you can maybe have a chat and a cuppa or just switch off totally for a few moments. We would encourage all staff in the hospital to use it.”

Family-run Middlesbrough firm, The Children’s Room, has kindly provided extra comforts for the nurses, doctors and other key workers using the room in the form of beanbags and footstools.

The business specialises in furniture for bedrooms and homes and Kevin Forth, who runs it with his sister and brothers, said they had no hesitation in offering their bespoke products to help health staff facing everyday stresses on the frontline.

Kevin said: “We were asked if we had a spare beanbag for the new room and, once we worked out that the materials were safe, we were more than happy to take a few to Sunderland Royal Hospital. It is only a small contribution, really, but, of course, we were delighted to help and if it can make a difference to the doctors and nurses with some of the stressful shifts they are facing, it’s the least we can do. It is our way of saying thank you for all they are doing.”

Lesley added: “The beanbags are a great addition to the chill room and it is a lovely gesture from the company to provide them and drop them off at the hospital, too.”