Hospital renovates employee space

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Courtesy Mercy Health Saint Mary's

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s recently completed an approximately $50,000 transformation of its vending machine room into a wellness room.

The health care organization renovated its 540-square-foot vending machine room into a new colleague wellness lounge for employees. It is located on level two of the hospital at 200 Jefferson Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

Michelle Rabideau, president of Saint Mary’s Foundation, said the idea of the wellness lounge came after seeing the effects the fourth surge of the COVID-19 infection was having on staff.

“Our leadership team determined that another priority area that we need to add to our daily attention was that of our colleague wellness and safety,” she said. “We were seeing unusually high rates of burnout, fatigue and stress, so we formed a committee led by frontline staff and other staff to really address boosting morale and improving wellness opportunities so that our colleagues felt safe and taken care of during a really challenging situation.”

The renovation of the vending room, which previously only had a vending machine, includes frosted windows, new floors, painted walls, cabinets and ceiling art.

The new room also includes two massage chairs, plants, aromatherapy amenities, artwork donated by George Peebles, iPads equipped with mindfulness and breathing apps, stress-relieving games and headphones, yoga mats for stretching and vending machines.

“We are thrilled to have this new space for colleagues to enjoy,” said Dr. Matt Biersack, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Our teams give so much of themselves because they believe in our mission and care deeply for those we serve. The wellness lounge is one way we can help heal our healers. We hope colleagues find this a space that helps them relax and restore.”

Rabideau said the renovation was completed by Saint Mary’s in partnership with Ken Ferris Construction. The cost of the construction was covered by philanthropic gifts to Saint Mary’s Foundation specifically for colleague resilience and wellness.

“There is no better gift than a gift that rewards our colleagues for the tiring work and dedication that they put in day in and day out,” she said. “We are so happy to have this new area with fresh features and amenities for all to enjoy.”

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