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Coronavirus: Altnagelvin Hospital creates 'wobble room' to help staff in time of crisis

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Laura Kyle, ED manager at Altnagelvin Hospital, with Brian Gillespie, emergency nurse practitioner, at the launch of the special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

Laura Kyle, ED manager at Altnagelvin Hospital, with Brian Gillespie, emergency nurse practitioner, at the launch of the special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

The special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

The special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

The special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

The special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

Laura Kyle, ED manager at Altnagelvin Hospital, with Brian Gillespie, emergency nurse practitioner, at the launch of the special room at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department

The emergency department at Altnagelvin hospital has created a "wobble room" where staff can go when the stresses of battling coronavirus and being separated from their families overwhelms them.

Laura Kyle, manager of the emergency department (ED) in Altnagelvin said she recognised the need for staff to have somewhere they could go to look after their mental health and get support whilst on duty.

While the room has been created to help staff cope during the crisis it will remain as a permanent support service from now on. Ms Kyle said: "Over the past few months we have been preparing for Covid-19 to hit Northern Ireland which has involved lots of changes within our department.

"In preparing for this and watching the devastation occurring worldwide I have been increasingly worried about the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of not just staff but the general public both during and in the aftermath of this pandemic.

"As ED staff we are known for our resilience and our 'just get on with it' attitude. However as we enter a period of unknown pressures and challenges and given that a lot of our staff have now been isolated from their normal support mechanisms I feel as a manager I have a responsibility to look after staff and their mental health.

"A lot of our staff have chosen to move out of family homes to protect their loved ones so it was clear we will be each other's family in the coming months and therefore needed to find a way to support each other."

Ms Kyle said she saw the idea of the "wobble room" on social media, and recognised its immediate value which she intends to expand on in the coming days and weeks.

She continued: "The wobble room is very much in its infancy and we have provided mental health resources which we hope we can expand on in the coming days.

"Since we opened it we have been overwhelmed at the response for people offering ideas and resources to help us build on what we've done.

"We hope to be able to continue to develop this in the coming weeks and hope it will help staff as they face what will be the most difficult time in not just their careers but also their lives. We would like to thank the public for their support during this difficult time and ask them to continue to adhere to the Government's advice on social distancing and 'stay home save lives' messages."

Belfast Telegraph