Published on January 28, 2021

Frontline Staff Find Calm and Comfort in Renewal Rooms

Interior view of Essentia Health renewal rooms in Brainerd MN, Detroit Lakes MN, and Sandstone MN

Renewal rooms are currently available in Fargo, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Duluth, and Sandstone, and a new room in Moose Lake opened in late December 2020. “ We are working on a phased implementation plan, starting with a few hospital locations, with the goal of opening at least one room in each hospital,” Horn says.

The heroes of 2020 were undisputedly frontline health care workers. From long stressful hours to layers of additional protective equipment to constant emotional strain, our health care workers have faced the brunt of the of the COVID-19 pandemic head on.

To support those who give so much, Essentia Health’s Wellness Committee developed a plan to bring renewal rooms to several Essentia Health facilities.

“Renewal rooms provide dedicated spaces near patient care that are quiet and private where employees can go for 5-15 minutes to recharge and support their own basic needs,” says Karly Horn, Wellness Program Manager for Essentia Health. “For those providing critical care to COVID patients, our staff have found it helpful to have dedicated spaces near the most impacted units to serve as a respite space.”

The Wellness Committee approached the Essentia Health Foundation for support in creating renewal rooms, and $13,000 was quickly allocated for the project. Starting with five locations across the system, the plan outlined suggestions for room layout and contents. Each room has places to sit, a table, adjustable temperature and light, snacks, and beverages like water and coffee, and tea. Windows or posters showing nature scenes add to the relaxing setting, which helps promote an atmosphere that encourages mindfulness, relaxation, and healing, says Horn. Other comfort-promoting items--including colored pencils, phone charges, essential oils, and fidget spinners--help Essentia Health frontline staff take some time for themselves during hectic shifts.

“This is such a nice resource because it feels like a space truly dedicated to decompression from the stresses of the work day,” says Kaitlyn Thompson, a registered nurse and administrative supervisors in Detroit Lakes, Minn. “ I appreciate the thought that was put into the room and being able to have a place to unwind, even for just a few minutes.”

Thompson uses the Detroit Lakes room multiple times a week to relax during her breaks and also for breast pumping sessions. “My favorite thing about the room is that it is calm and quiet,” she says.

Tara Mach, a registered nurse in Sandstone, Minn., finds the Sandstone room convenient to get a quick recharge. “I have sat down in there a few times, but I use it mostly for grab-and-go,” says Tara Mach “ I like its proximity of the room because it is right off the nurses’ station and is very accessible.”

Renewal rooms are currently available in Fargo, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Duluth, and Sandstone, and a new room in Moose Lake opened in late December 2020. “ We are working on a phased implementation plan, starting with a few hospital locations, with the goal of opening at least one room in each hospital,” Horn says.

Each room is maintained by a local staff person, usually the hospital’s chaplains or clinic education associates. Nutrition Services provide refills of snacks. “This wouldn’t be possible without on-site contacts, who are super helpful and responsive,” says Horn. “It’s been a collaborative effort between many different teams, all which was made possible by the Foundation’s support.”

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