Calgary’s hospitals are getting rejuvenation spaces to give back to our local health-care heroes

Local organizations team up to build respite areas at Calgary’s four hospitals as a way to show their gratitude to frontline workers.

By Krista Sylvester | October 21, 2021 |7:00 pm

The first of four respite areas being built at four Calgary hospitals as a way to say thank you to health-care professionals and frontline workers. This one is at the Foothills hospital.

Photo: Submitted

It’s a ‘thank you for doing what you do’ in the form of a breath of fresh air for frontline healthcare workers. 

Oxford Properties and EllisDon Construction have joined forces with the Calgary Health Foundation to launch a fundraising initiative to build respite areas that will provide staff at each of the city’s four hospitals with physical and emotional rejuvenation.

In addition to the first outdoor respite area recently opened at the Foothills Medical Centre in September, three more spaces will be built at the Peter Lougheed Centre, South Health Campus, and Rockyview General Hospital.

The initiative is designed to offer relief, provide support, and express gratitude for the unwavering efforts of local health-care heroes, according to Mike Meldrum, president and CEO of Calgary Health Foundation.

“Over the past 18 months we have seen our healthcare teams continue to step forward and meet the demands and challenges that wave after wave of the pandemic has brought,” he says, adding the fourth wave has been especially challenging. 

“And particularly in the fourth wave, I think people have just been real empathetic of the fatigue and frustration that some may feel and so we wanted to be sure to support them.” 

A simple way to express gratitude 

It’s a small token of gratitude for health-care workers who have been dealing with the increasing medical complexities in caring for patients. 

“Care providers have gone above and beyond to act as technology experts, friends and family members, grief counsellors, comforters, and confidantes.” 

That’s why this dedicated space was created, with three more planned in the future. 

“(People) just can’t say enough good things about it. It’s been a nice space for people to sort of get away from the hospital and rejuvenate a little bit while on their breaks. It’s a nice beautiful space,” he says, adding there are food trucks on-site for food options. 

Research has demonstrated the many emotional, physical, and mental benefits of incorporating respite and rejuvenation spaces into environmental design.

A breath of fresh air is good for the soul 

Each of the respite areas will focus on helping to restore balance and support recovery from the stressors experienced daily by hospital workers. 

“It’s partly to be able to get away from the walls of the hospital and get into a different space. It’s also meant to be a little bit quieter so that people can kind of get away from the busyness of the hospital,” he adds. 

David Routledge, VP of the Western Canada Office at Oxford Properties says this initiative is a way for Calgarians to give back to frontline workers. 

“Frontline workers consistently put the needs of patients above their own and this is an opportunity for us to express our thanks by creating spaces where they can take time to also care for themselves.”

Calgarians can donate to the fundraising campaign in support of this initiative online. All proceeds will be put directly towards the development of the remaining three respite areas over the next year.

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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