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    NMRTC Provides REST to Health Care Workers


    Courtesy Photo | Promotional photo for Naval Medical Readiness and Training Command's Resiliency...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Rafael Valdez 

    Naval Medical Center San Diego

    SAN DIEGO –Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) launched its Resiliency Support Team (REST) March 31st, introducing a new resource to help staff at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    REST is a collaborative effort to help NMRTC’s health care workers manage the multiple types of stress they’re dealing with as a consequence of isolation and risk of infection while combatting COVID-19.
    “REST’s aim is to assist our colleagues in remaining resilient in physical, spiritual, and emotional ways throughout the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lt. Savannah Woodward, a psychiatrist assigned to NMRTC. “It is intended to provide wrap-around support, emotional decompression, and wellness services to front-line staff involved in care and treatment during the response.”
    NMRTC staff drew upon lessons learned from other medical communities around the world and worked to develop a team to help their colleagues.
    “NMRTC sought to adopt an early and actionable, system-wide intervention that allowed individuals to remain resilient and mission ready while they help to overcome the remarkable challenges put on healthcare systems by COVID-19,” said Lt. Thomas Klotz, a physician assigned to NMRTC. “In this way, REST hopes to alleviate immediate burnout and burden of these types of stress symptoms that could otherwise lead to other long-term psychiatric illnesses.”
    While this is a new way of accessing urgent resiliency support, the entire REST and its resources are completely derived from personnel and materials already present at NMRTC.
    “The incredible force of the REST initiative is that it capitalizes on resources already present within NMCSD and redeploys them to the meet specific needs of our healthcare staff,” said Dr. Revi DeSilva, a psychiatrist also assigned to NMRTC. “Examples include placing Resiliency Rooms as close as possible to the staff most involved and affected by COVID-19 care, ensuring proactive chaplain services for staff, augmenting volunteer training for the Care Includes Peer Support (CIPS) program, and adjusting the hours of our peer support and meditation groups to make them more convenient for all staff, 24/7.”
    REST also helps providers with some of the physical needs for maintaining resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “The initiative also helps ensure that affected staff members have access to the essentials of hygiene and self-care, and anticipating departments’ needs by developing strategies to get staff nutritious meals, improved sleep, obtain items like toiletries and diapers, as well as help decrease the burdens additional childcare,” DeSilva said.
    Even though most of these resources already existed in one form or another, the development of REST gives providers a single point of access for the help they need.
    “Because REST is an assembly of our existing resources and concentrated amongst clinicians who focus on wellbeing, we are able to ensure there is “no wrong door” for staff to access tools that keep them up and running,” DeSilva said. “It is also a means to directly address concerns of stigma associated with seeking help for feelings like depression or anxiety. We want to provide a number of resources that people can use without reservations, increase awareness of the programs that are already in place (such as CIPS), offer a forum for staff to talk about what they are experiencing with colleagues, and also provide a variety of options for relaxation and self-care which can be completed on one’s own time and schedule based on their preference.”
    REST was developed out of the lessons learned over the past two decades of combat, using research developed by multiple organizations within the military which have focused on these kinds of issues.
    “When it came to organizing our approach, the team drew from the extensive research and best practices developed by Navy Personnel Command Operations Stress Control, Military Operational Medicine Research Program, The Centers for the Study of Traumatic Stress at USUHS, the work of traumatic stress researcher Charles Figley, and many others,” Klotz said. “Most studies looking at the need for front-line interventions during crisis are based on combat units in wartime which have been influential to the organizations I mentioned.”
    While REST is focused on providers at NMRTC in San Diego, anyone can get started with acquiring some assistance with finding help at the REST website:
    NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
    Visit or for more information.



    Date Taken: 04.15.2020
    Date Posted: 04.23.2020 15:46
    Story ID: 368008
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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