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'We Are Not Serving Coffee, We Are Pouring Happiness into People’s Lives’

News By: Deena Yasmeen binti Abdul Ghaffar

Editor: Ravivarma Muniandy

Source: Dr. Ahmad Khaldun Ismail, ACES Facebook Album

CHERAS, 4 May - Artisan Coffee for Emergency Staff (ACES) project was founded by Dr. Ahmad Khaldun Ismail to help relieve the stress of medical practitioners in Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) amidst tackling the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the nation.

‘We are not serving coffee; we are pouring happiness into people’s lives’ is the tagline by Artisan Coffee for Emergency Staff (ACES) project. ACES is one of the projects under Rilekopi program created by Dr. Ahmad Khaldun Ismail, where they offer programs such as guided relaxation exercises by ‘Jom Rilek’ combined with coffee breaks by ACES.

First initiated on 28th March, ACES project works in phases as it relies heavily on external funding from the general public, staff, and industry. A phase may last a few days to a few weeks depending on the supplies they have accumulated.

A ‘pick up and go’ concept is the forefront of this project as it minimizes physical contact between staff. They are also encouraged to bring their own coffee cup when they visit ACES.

Consultant Emergency Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine HCTM, as well as the founder of ACES and Rilekopi, Dr. Ahmad Khaldun Ismail explains that the idea of the project began due to the sudden restructuring of the emergency department which brought about stress to everyone involved.

“In early March, our emergency department underwent major restructuring due to the Covid-19 pandemic which placed tremendous stress and pressure on our resources and staff. All of us were assigned a specific role and I was assigned as the coordinator for Psychosocial support in our department.”

Dr. Khaldun highlights the idea for ACES was because of the benefits a good cup of coffee can have on the mental well-being.

“A cup of well-made coffee can easily boost morale and provide comfort to all senses beginning from the aroma of the coffee, followed by a visual feast in the form of Latte art, feeling the warmth of the cup and the invigorating taste of the coffee. It brings comfort to anyone working in emergency response.”

The overwhelmingly positive feedback for the ACES project is due in credit to its nature of touching the basic needs for warmth and comfort severely needed in these physically distant days, says Dr. Khaldun.

Psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry HCTM, A.P. Dr. Nik Ruzyanei Nik Jaafar, mentions the advantages of the project as it promotes simple relaxation techniques coupled with evidence-based therapy.

“(The project) is a reminder to take a break throughout a taxing day at work. The benefits are aplenty as it promotes holistic self-care especially when one has to be able to deal with stressful tasks and perform well at work.”

Emergency Consultant in the Department of Emergency Medicine HCTM, Dr. Shamsuriani Md Jamal, mentioned that it gives a positive impact on the staff as she herself has taken a coffee break with ACES.

She hopes that the project would continue moving forward as it was originally created due to the stress dealing with the pandemic.

“It would be nice if the ACES project continues in the future. We could make it happen if we have enough budget and sponsors but we might need a team to do it as it is currently handled by Dr. Khaldun alone.”

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