Sparrow Hospital addresses mental health in caregivers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers said they experienced everything from emotional crisis to compassion fatigue.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - On Tuesday, April 25, Sparrow Eaton Hospital announced a new way they will be supporting its caregivers while they’re on the clock. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers said they experienced everything from an emotional crisis to compassion fatigue.

To make sure caregivers are supported mentally, Sparrow created an in-house, quiet room to where workers can address stress, anxiety, and PTSD.

“That’s usually the last thing you think about during the day,” said Amy Yager, EVS Worker at Sparrow Eaton Hospital.

Yager makes sure hospital equipment is cleaned and sanitized for patients. She said she never thinks about self-care until she’s done caring for others. “There’s a lot of stress put on us to make sure everything is perfect and clean.”

Lavender Rooms were created during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s one way the healthcare industry addresses mental health in their workers. Caregivers at Sparrow can take time during their day to relax and process emotions.

The hospital said the room is equipped with “aromatherapy, sound therapy, massage tools, a calming atmosphere and a private place to reflect or pray.”

EVS Supervisor, Barb Emenhiser said, “It can be very stressful. If the ER is busy, that means they’re having to clean every room after a patient. So that can be, like, non-stop.”

She said the Lavender Room is a safe haven for her team.

“The caregivers can go in there and take a few minutes for themselves,” Emenhiser said. “They can relax, use the massage items in there, the music.”

Yager said she’s already used the Lavender Room during one of her shifts – taking a moment to reset and recenter, to be a better help to others.

“I just actually just sat,” Yager said. “Sometimes that’s all you need – just to take five minutes just to sit and take a deep breath.”

Sparrow Eaton Health said the Lavender Room also features a “no-questions asked” pantry of essentials ranging from toiletries and hygiene products to non-perishables. The hospital said the pantry is “funded and managed by caregivers as a small way to take care of one another.”

According to Sparrow Eaton Health, the Lavender Room was after a generous donation from Joseph Eugene Pray, Sr.

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