We are currently facing global healthcare crisis that has placed unprecedented stress on healthcare workers as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 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 (out of a total of 562) 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 (±1.1). After a single 15-min experience in the Recharge Room, the average user-reported stress level was significantly reduced 1.85/6 (±1.2; p < 0.001; paired t-test). 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.
- biophilic design