Kaplan Companies donate respite rooms to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
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Kaplan Companies donate respite rooms to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Lisa Kaplan, left, with Jason Kaplan, Amy Kaplan-Schafer, and Helen Kaplan and Michael Kaplan, both seated. (Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital)
Lisa Kaplan, left, with Jason Kaplan, Amy Kaplan-Schafer, and Helen Kaplan and Michael Kaplan, both seated. (Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital)

Last fall, Michael Kaplan, the owner of Kaplan Companies, one of the largest builders in the state, became ill and was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. During his hospital stay, Mr. Kaplan saw firsthand the toll that caring for patients with covid-19 took on the nurses who were critical to caregiving throughout the pandemic. That inspired the Kaplan family to assist with providing nurses with a room to which they could retreat during their hospital shifts.

As RWJUH began to assess staff fatigue, anxiety, and trauma, it created a multidisciplinary committee, Resilient Together. The committee developed a proposal for accessible, quiet spaces, called respite rooms, where nurses or other staff members could retreat to decompress, and as a result continue to give high-quality care to their patients. 

That’s when the Kaplan family stepped in. “Supporting the construction of RWJUH’s respite room became so important to me after I saw how the dedicated staff and nurses not only cared for me during my stay at RWJUH, but they also comforted my wife, Helen,” Michael Kaplan said. “We needed to show our appreciation.”

The entire Kaplan family, including Jason Kaplan, Lisa Kaplan, and Amy Kaplan-Schafer, all were eager to support the frontline workers who help make a profound difference in so many lives. “It’s so important for nurses to be able to take a moment for themselves so they can go on providing the best care, even in the most challenging situations,” Ms. Kaplan-Schafe said. 

The respite room will be more than just a break room. “The design of this room emphasizes soothing colors, relaxing furniture and high-quality finishes,” Jason Kaplan, the Kaplan Companies’ president, said. “Our goal is to provide an escape for nurses to find peace and comfort throughout the day. This is the very least we can do to help all the wonderful people who risk their lives every day. Our recognition of nurses shouldn’t go away after the covid-19 pandemic ends. We should be clapping for nurses and doctors every day.”

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