Pandemic: Chaplains at Northridge hospital use music to lift the spirits of frontline health workers

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Sunday, January 31, 2021
Hospital chaplains use music to lift the spirits of ICU staff
Chaplains at Northridge Hospital Medical Center are using music to lift the spirits of the ICU staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- The intensive care unit at Northridge Hospital Medical Center can be described as a war zone.

"At any minute in our ICU, you hear alarms, you hear code blues, you hear people asking for help, there's just a lot of stuff going on here," said Tiffany Pessi, the intensive care unit manager who knows how taxing the pandemic has been on her ICU -- both physically and emotionally.

"Our staff is nothing short of miracle workers. I mean they are angels in disguises for sure. I couldn't ask for a better team," she said.

No doubt, there's a burden to carry, which is why the Spiritual Care Department has gotten creative with its methods. Not just for the patients, but for the medical staff more than ever.

"Especially during this season, the spiritual care aspect has come to the forefront because of the equity, the need, the stress level," said the Rev. Philip Abraham, who is one of four chaplains that decided to try out a brief music moment to help give frontline workers a chance to take a deep breath.

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"We saw the physicians, the nurses, the therapists all come around and just, it made them to feel that they have a moment to pause," he said.

"It gives them a little bit of joy, it gives them a little bit of humanity. This is somebody who's now caring about them," said Pessi.

Now it's become a weekly form of therapy as the chaplains attempt to be more proactive and intentional in checking on staff.

"Getting that moment became a driving factor for their resilience to go back and care for the team, for their patients in the best way possible," said Abraham.

"We're very fortunate to work for an organization that cares about our emotional health and how we are able to cope with these very heavy situations," said Pessi.

The hope is that things like this will help medical staff focus on the body, mind and soul, especially those who selflessly work overtime or through their lunch breaks.