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Shown in the Oasis Room at Einstein’s Crisis Response Center (CRC): Angela Cantwell, RN-BC, Program Director/Nurse Manager of the CRC and Shamit Chaki, LSW, social worker in the CRC.
Einstein is taking an innovative approach to patient care by offering the region’s first Sensory Room in a Crisis Response Center (CRC), which provides emergency psychiatric services. Named the “Oasis Room” because, just like an oasis, the room creates the feeling of a calm refuge. People who come to the CRC may be extremely frightened or agitated. The room offers a calming, nurturing environment where patients can relax and feel cared for and supported prior to their full evaluation. The Oasis Room represents a change in approach to emergency psychiatric care, moving from a medical model to a recovery-focused model. The recovery model recognizes the person as a partner in their care in collaboration with staff, and looks at the whole person, mind and body, focusing on the person’s strengths, coping skills and support systems, to help them through a crisis. Throughout the country, there are psychiatric hospitals that have sensory rooms in inpatient settings, but Einstein is the first hospital to offer a sensory room in an emergency room setting for psychiatric patients. The Oasis Room is painted in soft pastel colors, incorporates soothing lights, aromatherapy, massage chairs, music, plants, artwork, stress balls and tactile objects – all designed to support the senses and relieve stress. If it’s determined that a patient would benefit from a quiet environment, a Certified Peer Specialist escorts the person to the room where they can relax and regain self-control before their evaluation in the CRC. Patients wear headphones and choose the kind of music they want to hear and also choose the scent for aromatherapy, and bibles and books with inspirational sayings are available. Only one patient is in the room at a time.“The Oasis Room provides a healing environment that helps empower people to make choices in their care that nurtures their mind and body, draws on their strengths and inspires hope for recovery,” said Guillermo R. Otero Pérez, MD, Medical Director of the CRC. ‘We are seeing positive results with this intervention, so our hope is that our Oasis Room will serve as a model for other CRCs throughout the country.” As a tool to help patients relax and self-soothe, breathing techniques are taught. “We want to teach people a skill they can take with them to help cope with their day-to-day stress and to prevent the stress from escalating,” said Angela Cantwell, RN-BC, Program Director/Nurse Manager of the CRC. Einstein’s CRC provides 24/7 emergency psychiatric care for children, adolescents and adults. The staff, led by board-certified psychiatrists, provides services which include assessment and triage, evaluation and intervention, crisis counseling, referral for inpatient hospitalization or outpatient services. The Einstein CRC is the only one in the City of Philadelphia that treats adults as well as children and adolescents. More than 8,200 people are evaluated and/or treated at the center each year.