Fall 2021

Calling a Code Lavender

A new program promotes relaxation and resilience for health care staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic

As COVID-19 sweeps through our communities, frontline caregivers venture into the unknown, face long hours, and witness tragedy, day after day—an experience bound to take a toll on even the most tireless among them.

So the M Health Fairview Integrative Health and Wellbeing team called a Code Lavender. A nod to other hospital emergency codes, Code Lavender programs provide staff with small breaks in the day to show appreciation for their dedication and to promote resilience.

So far, staff at eight M Health Fairview sites have experienced Code Lavender events, which have included oshibori (hot towels infused with essential oils) stations, acupressure, and take-home items like mask spray and snacks.

In crystal therapy, this heart-shaped amethyst is meant to activate the heart chakra, which is related to compassion, innate harmony, peace, and unconditional love.

About 50 more Mini Code Lavender events have offered aromatherapy, acupressure ear seeds, hand massages, and treats. In May, Health Care Heroes Month, staff members received a small bag containing a heart-shaped amethyst healing stone, mask spray, a piece of chocolate, and relaxation tips.

Teams can call a Code Lavender when in-the-moment support is needed, too, like when someone has suffered a professional or personal loss.

“It is so important to ensure our staff are taken care of so they can show up to do their best work,” says Becky Pauly, D.C., director of operations for M Health Fairview systemwide Integrative Health and Wellbeing.

To date, more than 2,000 staff members at M Health Fairview hospitals and clinics have taken part in Code Lavender programs, made possible by philanthropic support.

“Breaking away from intense work is not something that’s easy for dedicated caregivers to do,” says Lynn Gershan, M.D., C.M., medical director for Integrative Health and Wellbeing at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital. “This whole concept gives them permission to care for themselves.”