WESTFIELD-While caregivers at Baystate Noble Hospital continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, area residents wishing to say thank you can make donations to a new “tranquility room” on the first floor.
“The Tranquility Room opened and was created and available for staff on April 6 to provide a supportive and peaceful environment/space away from our clinical areas where front line caregivers could reflect and rest a spell from the stresses of caregiving during the pandemic,” said Kelley Crowley, MSW, LICSW. Crowley serves as director of Behavioral Health at Baystate Noble Hospital.
The room is an extension of Baystate Health’s Department of Psychiatry initiative, “Caring for the Caregiver in a Time of Crisis (CCTC): Resources for Resilience and Emotional Support.”
“CCTC was developed in order to support Baystate team members who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Crowley. “CCTC provides Baystate team members with programmatic resources and support in order to increase awareness of emotional distress that arises during times of crisis as well as provide techniques to promote resiliency.”
Crowley explained that during a pandemic, health care workers are at risk for emotional distress which is a function of the unique challenges of the role (not the individuals in the role).
“A series of support meetings are provided to help normalize the psychological distress response, to build coping skills and resilience, and provide ongoing emotional support,” said Crowley.
In the first week, 170 Baystate team members participated in one of these groups, according to Crowley.
“CCTC also provides in person psychological first aid to front line staff on some of the most critical care units,” she added.
The tranquility room has been a place of respite for the approximately 500 employees at the hospital and donations from the community are welcomed. Donations can be dropped off at the Baystate Noble main entrance, addressed to Kelley Crowley/Tranquility Room.
“We are requesting notes of encouragement to accompany the donations,” said Crowley.
Items that are always in need of replenishing include Gatorade, protein bars, peanut M & M’s, protein drinks, chapstick and candy.
“These items have been very successful and staff have been very thankful for the deliveries,” said Crowley. “It is very important for us to relay the community support to the staff working on the front lines.”
A special delivery on Sunday was 20 boxes of assorted Girl Scout cookies and a note of support from Westfield Girl Scout Troop 65088, comprised of 10 girls known as “daisies” who are in kindergarten and first grade.
“We had extra money at the end of the selling season from community members who had told us to ‘keep the change’ during sales,” said Heather Huizenga, who is a troop co-leader with Laura Harlow. “We applied that extra money toward the boxes of cookies. We tried to ensure there were two boxes of each flavor and also added more extra thin mints and S’mores since they are especially popular.”
For individuals, businesses or organizations interested in making a donation, Crowley suggests visiting the “How You Can Help” page on the Baystate Health website – https://www.baystatehealth.org/covid19/supplies.
All restaurant food donations must be coordinated through the COVID-19 food donations request line at (413) 794-1489 or via email to [email protected].
Of course, all donations must be kept organized and the room must be continuously cleaned for the safety of all employees.
“The Environmental Services team keeps the Tranquility Room clean and safe for our employees as they take a break from their roles on the front line,” said John J. McGrath, director of Housekeeping/EVS, Baystate Noble Hospital. “Not only is it our responsibility to care for patient areas but we are entrusted with keeping our fellow employees safe as they get a few minutes of much needed respite in the Tranquility Room. I couldn’t be more proud of my EVS team, their willingness to help in any way they can, and their positive attitude makes the challenge of these times much easier.”