Multisensory, Nature-Inspired Recharge Rooms Yield Short-Term Reductions in Perceived Stress Among Frontline Healthcare Workers

Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2020)
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Abstract

We are currently facing global healthcare crisis that has placed unprecedented stress on healthcare workers as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019. It is imperative that we develop novel tools to assist healthcare workers in dealing with the significant additional stress and trauma that has arisen as a result of the pandemic. Based in research on the effects of immersive environments on mood, a neuroscience research laboratory was rapidly repurposed using commercially available technologies and materials to create a nature-inspired relaxation space. Frontline healthcare workers were invited to book 15-min experiences in the Recharge Room before, during or after their shifts, where they were exposed to the immersive, multisensory experience 496 Recharge Room users completed a short survey about their experience during an unselected, consecutive 14-day period. Average self-reported stress levels prior to entering the Recharge Room were 4.58/6. After a single 15-min experience in the Recharge Room, the average user-reported stress level was significantly reduced 1.85/6. Net Promoter Score for the experience was 99.3%. Recharge Rooms such as those described here produce significant short-term reductions in perceived stress, and users find them highly enjoyable. These rooms may be of general utility in high-stress healthcare environments.

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