Red Deer health workers now have a dedicated space at the hospital where they can go to relax and recharge during the pandemic.
For about 28 years, Moose Cottage at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been a place where visitors, patients and staff could escape the hustle of the hospital.
Developed by the Loyal Order of the Moose No. 1639 and the Women of the Moose Red Deer Chapter, the room provided a cozy, country-themed atmosphere, with tables and chairs to fit about 25 people.
Last November, the cottage became a staff wellness centre.
Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has provided funding for supplies to support the program.
“It’s not just a break room. They have created a space in the hospital where staff can go to unwind,” said Manon Therriault, the foundation’s chief executive officer.
Alberta Health Services said in a statement that AHS leadership wanted to support the well-being of physicians and staff during the fourth wave of the pandemic by creating a space to help frontline caregivers who are experiencing stress.
The staff wellness centre, in its current space, is a temporary space in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been created temporarily from the hospital’s Moose Cottage, a space that in typical times serves as an area of respite for patients and family members who need a break away from the hospital room. Because Moose Cottage is usually volunteer-run and most volunteers are currently unable to work at the site due to COVID, the space was empty. Moose Cottage programming is expected to return as soon as circumstances will allow.
Meanwhile as a staff wellness centre it features a rotation of activities to help individuals find comfort, create and/or relax on their breaks. Physicians and staff can listen to therapeutic music, read, reflect, journal, and engage with tactile activities – all of this designed to offer each person multisensory options for respite.
Those who want to write in a shared journal can do so, as a way of connecting with and encouraging their peers.
AHS said initiatives like this aim to acknowledge the difficulty of the pandemic, and assist physicians and staff in maintaining their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Therriault said assisting health care workers at this time is a focus at the hospital.
“There’s a lot of messages in the media about COVID and the impacts that it has on the hospital. The reality is we need to continue to support our health care workers and continue to ensure we have the tools we need to move forward. We’re grateful as a foundation to be there and to help.”
One of the foundation’s next fundraising efforts is the 2022 Red Deer Hospital Lottery, featuring a dream home as the grand prize.
“It’s almost done. We look forward to going in and taking a look,” said Therriault about the dream home that has been under construction in the Evergreen neighbourhood.
Last year the lottery raised $900,000 to support the purchase of electronic fetal monitors and other equipment for the Red Deer hospital, as well as other health care centres around rural central Alberta.
Another fundraiser — Cycle for Central Alberta — happens on March 25 to raise $50,000.
The cycle event started in 2020 with only one rider, and about 15 riders raised over $25,000 last year.
People can either cycle in person at the event, which will be held at Holiday Inn and Suites, or from home or outdoors.
Therriault said over the last two years the foundation has learned to adapt.
“We’re at the point now that the way we fundraise can be adjusted as we go. It’s a little bit of a comforting feeling knowing that we can do that now.”
The story was updated on Jan. 12 to include the Moose Cottage has been temporarily transformed into a staff wellness centre.