You‘re likely familiar with using alerts like “Code Red” or “Code Blue” in cases of emergency. But several hospitals have created a different kind of alert designed to reduce burnout and stress in staff: Code Lavender.

Code Lavender is described as “the integrated healing equivalent of a Code Blue” by Experia Health, one of the health systems that’s put it into place. It’s usually used during times of extreme stress, such as when patients die, according to an article in the Huffington Post.

When a Code Lavender is announced in a hospital, it has the same urgency as any other alert. A trained team of professionals respond, offering therapeutic massages, healthy snacks and listening ears.

At one hospital, lavender wristbands are handed out to providers as a reminder that they aren’t alone. And all staffers are encouraged to take a minute to slow down, breathe and lift the weight of stress from their shoulders.

Other ways providers can release stress through the Code Lavender program include participating in yoga classes, aromatherapy and music therapy, as described in an article from McKesson Better Health.

And the Code Lavender program isn’t just available to staff, either. Patients are offered the chance to take advantage of these services, too, while receiving their standard care.

Several hospitals across the country have implemented their own form of Code Lavender for patients and staff.  Cleveland Clinic has had the program in place since 2008, and it’s received high marks for the Code Lavender services provided by its Healing Services Team. The team, which includes nurses, touch therapists and chaplains, responds to all requests for support within 30 minutes.

Alternative medicine gains ground

Even if a hospital isn’t using a specific holistic wellness program such as Code Lavender, alternative medicine services to improve health and reduce stress have been gaining popularity in hospitals.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Hospital Association, 42% of responding hospitals offer at least one kind of alternative therapy for patients and staff, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal remedies and massage therapy.

Making these kinds of therapies available along with standard treatment can help boost the quality of care your hospital provides. Not only do they allow clinical staff to avoid burnout (which leads to better care on its own), but integrating these alternatives into patients’ care plans can decrease their recovery time.

So it may be worth your while to consider implementing a Code Lavender program, or another similar holistic medicine initiative, at your hospital.

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