April 13, 2022

Creating a Space to Unwind, Renew, Refresh

Relaxation rooms let caregivers take a breather

South Pointe Relaxation Room

In late 2021, Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital opened the first of five wellness and relaxation rooms for caregivers who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“It’s been a difficult two years. People are exhausted. We wanted to provide caregivers a little stress relief and time for themselves,” says Erica Shields, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Nursing for Emergency Services, ICU and Surgical and Ambulatory Care Clinics at South Pointe Hospital.

Rooms filled with relaxation tools

The idea for “Pointe of Relaxation” rooms was sparked in February 2021. Shields attended an executive team meeting where she heard about a philanthropic donation earmarked for wellness. South Pointe Hospital’s ICU had opened a small Zen room for relaxation, and Shields thought expanding the concept throughout the hospital would be a great use for the funds.

Shields reached out to her peers for help, including Colleen Wisniewski, MSM, BSN, RN, CNOR, Director of Nursing for Surgical Services, and Regina Schneider, DNP, RN, Director of Nursing for Acute Care Services. They brought the idea to Shared Governance, which formed a multidisciplinary committee to spearhead the project.

The first room opened outside the ICU in December, with others following on the third and fifth floors of the hospital’s main tower in late January 2022. Two more are in progress. Open to anyone who works at Cleveland Clinic, each room features a massage chair, foot massager, sound machine, salt lamp, yoga mat and other items. The walls are adorned with calming nature pictures and decals that read “relax, refresh, renew.” Each room contains a binder with information on all the wellness programs offered to Cleveland Clinic employees.

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“We have so many options to help our caregivers deal with stress,” says Shields. “They give so much of themselves to take care of patients, but often neglect to take care of themselves.”

Caregivers contribute name and ideas

To generate excitement about the project, the committee held a naming contest and received more than 40 ideas. Nancy Hodge, MSN, RN, Assistant Nurse Manager of the ICU, won a basket of relaxation items for her winning suggestion, Pointe of Relaxation. The name is printed on plaques outside the rooms with a sign indicating whether the room is occupied or available.

Caregivers are also encouraged to place ideas in suggestion boxes in each room, which are then reviewed by the committee. Some of the recommendations the committee are pursuing include the addition of aromatherapy and battery-operated candles.

While the hospital doesn’t track use of the rooms, caregivers have placed notes in the suggestion boxes expressing their gratitude. A paramedic from the emergency department emailed Shields to share his experience using the massage chair: “I can’t say enough good things about that chair. My shoulder was sore before using it. After, my pain was gone, and I had a really good sleep at home.”

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That’s music to the ears of leaders, who want caregivers to know how much they are appreciated.

“It’s not your normal thank you from your manager – a note or gift card for a meal,” says Wisniewski. “This is very personal. It allows people to get away from the lights and constant barrage of noise on their own time and choose what they want to do to relax while in the rooms.”

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