By Catalina Guran
The last two years have taken a toll on the health care system and, most of all, on its people. Although health care workers are experienced and trained to be resilient, committed to their patients and dedicated to their profession, the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. Thankfully, ‘health care heroes’ continue to be there every day to care for their patients, and it’s often the little things that keep them going. That is why, in early 2021, William Osler Health System (Osler) implemented a Respite and Well-being Program designed to offer a wide array of services and supports for Osler teams, as they continue working around the clock to provide exceptional care to the community.
From outdoor yoga classes, mindfulness moments, and Employee Family Assistance Counselling, to Respite Rooms, ‘Compassion Carts’, virtual choirs and seated relaxation chair massages, Osler provides time and space for staff to momentarily escape some of the pressures.
There is a dedicated Respite Room at each of Osler’s three sites where staff can go for beverages, treats, wellness resources, or for some quiet time. Managers can also sign out Compassion Carts packed with snacks and drinks for short shifts to bring around to their teams. It’s small actions, like this, that have a big impact on teams. Staff at all levels are appreciative of the offerings but, Compassion Carts are the most popular element of Osler’s Respite and Well-being Program.
Staying hydrated and healthy isn’t always easy during busy shifts. The continued demands of the COVID-19 pandemic can leave staff feeling tired and Osler’s respite initiatives, play a vital role in helping staff stay Osler Strong.
“It’s not so much what we’re giving them,” explains Kiran Patel, Clinical Services Manager, Cardiac Diagnostics and Cardiac Rehab at Osler. “It’s that special moment to just say, ‘I’m thinking about you. I know today’s a really busy day and you probably haven’t had a chance to get to the respite room, so we’re going to bring it to you.’ It’s just knowing that they can pause for that moment to think about themselves.”
Supporting Mental Health with Schwartz Rounds
Recently, Osler also implemented a new health and wellness initiative called Schwartz Rounds. One of the many ways Osler can put into practice its Values of Compassion and Excellence and help build healthy and resilient teams, Schwartz Rounds are a live, one-hour, interdisciplinary forum that aim to create open, honest and safe space where participants can candidly share their ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Due to the nature of their work, health care professionals often carry stress and emotional trauma, and the pandemic has compounded this. Osler team members who attend Schwartz Rounds gain greater insight into their feelings, grow their capacity for compassionate care, and increase empathy for individuals, patients, and their colleagues. Osler plans to hold Schwartz Rounds four times a year.
In line with its commitment to create resilient, empathetic teams and create a safe and healthy workplace environment, Osler leverages these many resources to provide emotional, physical and social support. Osler is proud to support its health care heroes always, to stay Osler Strong.
Catalina Guran is Senior Manager, Public Relations, at William Osler Health System.
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SOURCE: Hospital News – Read entire story here.