NHS emergency staff encouraged to use rest pods

NHS front-line staff working in the emergency department at Oxford University Hospitals are being encouraged to take short power naps during their breaks following the installation of specialist rest pods and chairs.

The rest pods, which were on loan to the Trust for a trial and used throughout the height of COVID-19, have proven such a hit with staff that Oxford Hospitals Charity has agreed to purchase them for permanent use. 

The pods allow frontline staff working in the emergency departments to rest during their breaks, or before or after intense or stressful shifts.

Two of the futuristic pods and a chair have been introduced at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury has also had a specialist chair installed.

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: “We are delighted to, in partnership with Oxford Hospitals Charity, install these rest pods and chairs for Emergency Department staff at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals.”

The ‘EnergyPod’ is specifically designed for power napping, enabling staff to rest for a limited, specified amount of time. 

The rest pods features a bed beneath an adjustable privacy visor and, once activated, it uses soft lighting and soothing music to help staff relax. 

Katy Mimpress, Matron of the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Emergency Department, said: “These pods and chairs will make such a positive difference to the Emergency Department teams, as they continue their hard work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“They are the perfect space for staff to decompress, which has been particularly important during the pandemic.”

The total cost of these pods is £32,000 which were funded entirely by Oxford Hospitals Charity – donations from NHS Charities Together and a generous local donor.

Anna Hinton, Health and Wellbeing Promotion Specialist at the Trust, said: “The pods we’ve had on trial have been so well received by staff throughout the pandemic. They are shown to increase alertness and reduce stress which is beneficial for both our staff and our patients. The Centre of Occupational Health and Wellbeing initiated the original trial and are delighted that they have been so supportive to staff wellbeing.”

“Feedback has been extremely positive, with staff describing the facilities as ‘game changing’ and important to their wellbeing.”

“It is so heart-warming to know that something sustainable and beneficial for our hard-working frontline staff has emerged from these difficult times.”