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Zen Room allows Carle Eureka staff to care for themselves, improve patient outcomes

Zen Room allows Carle Eureka staff to care for themselves, improve patient outcomes
The latest tools in healthcare include coloring books, puzzles, aromatherapy diffusers, massagers and bean bag chairs.

As healthcare professionals encourage patients to pay more attention to their mental health, nurses and their colleagues are becoming more mindful of their own needs.

“It’s imperative that we focus on our own care,” Susan Allensworth, RN, Carle Eureka Hospital, said. “If we are to give a holistic approach to patients, we should do the same for ourselves.”

Enter the Carle Eureka Hospital Zen Room, where any hospital team member in need of a mental health break can brighten a coloring book, assemble a puzzle, savor a snack, apply skin lotion, enjoy the fragrance of lavender from an aromatherapy diffuser, massage their muscles, read a book in a bean bag chair or just be still.

“Since the room is open at all times, it fits with anyone’s schedule, at any given time of the day,” Allensworth said. “Everyone is entitled to a break during their work day and they may use it then.”

The Eureka Hospital Zen Room is the newest Carle Health team member relaxation room.

Several Carle Health hospitals have Zen, relaxation or wellness rooms available to help team members decompress. The goal is for nurses and others to take a break for themselves so that they may continue to be there for patients. The health system opened several spaces within the past few years, which team members support, reflecting the self-care trend.

The Eureka Hospital Zen room is the newest, opening Feb. 7.

“People are using this,” Holly Ehrhardt, RN, Emergency Department at Eureka, said in the Zen Room. “It’s a nice place to get away and shut down for a few minutes before getting back to work.”

The Zen Room is a project of the Eureka Hospital Shared Governance Committee, which includes representatives of several disciplines within the hospital’s nursing unit, Karen Vance, RN, Carle Eureka Hospital, said. “Our primary objective is to identify and improve best nursing practices for good patient outcomes,” Vance said.

“You can’t always get outside the walls of the hospital,” Jason Burnett, RN, Carle Eureka Hospital Emergency Department, said. “The Zen Room allows hospital employees to take a break from stressful situations.”

The committee found that a safe, relaxing place for all team members to take a break would fit the goal of improving patient outcomes. The group chose a former surgeons’ lounge and dressing room for the Zen Room. Hospital team members have donated equipment, supplies and snacks in the room.

Carle Foundation Hospital (CFH) in Urbana has a Surgical Units Wellness Room and a CT7 Staff Respite Room. The wellness room includes two couches that can fold out into beds, a yoga mat, drinks and snacks, puzzles, coloring books, a desktop Zen sand garden, fidget tools and a massager, Jordan Propst, CMSRN, nurse manager, Carle Foundation Hospital, said. The respite room includes a couch, blankets, soft lighting, snacks and an essential oil diffuser, Benjamin Williams, RN supervisor of critical care at CFH, said.

“We wanted a space for our team members to decompress on a break, relax after a code, just take me time and collect themselves in a quiet and peaceful environment while on shift,” Propst said.

“This (respite) room is important for the mental health of our staff,” Williams said. “Our units (critical care and advanced care) can be overstimulating, and the room provides an escape from this to allow for a mental reset.”

Carle Health Greater Peoria hospitals have relaxation rooms similar to the other hospitals.

“The team was voicing the need for an area like this and approached the unit council to make it happen,” Holly Stoner, RN, nurse manager, Carle Health Pekin Hospital, said.

Propst said “Now, more than ever, we need to support our teams on-site and help them to remember that their self and health matter. We have to care for ourselves before we can really give and care for others.”

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Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: Eureka, health, hospitals, mental, nursing, relaxation, self-care, team, Zen