HOUSTON, TX – The coronavirus has impacted healthcare workers around the world, leaving many with the complexities of acute and chronic stress. As stress increases and remains out of balance, these symptoms can lead to increased fatigue, depression, unreported health issues, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a not-for-profit hospice palliative care organization, Houston Hospice recognizes that quality of life is of great importance, throughout the community and within our own employee and volunteer base.

In response to the unique needs of our hospice palliative care teams and office staff, Houston Hospice has partnered with the Mind Body Spirit Institute at the Jung Center to implement mind-body practices throughout our organization. Led by Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, Director, Jung Center’s Mind Body Spirit Institute, Assistant Professor, McGovern Center for Humanities & Ethics, UT Medical School, Houston, Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative Rehabilitation & Integrative Medicine Program, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Hospice has implemented the Compassionate, Professional and Renewal Wellbeing (CPR) initiative which includes self-care tools focused on improving the quality of life of employees and volunteers.

“The CPR program is about finding ways to increase our compassion for ourselves and others as we begin to live more balanced lives,” said Dr. Chaoul.
Houston Hospice kicked off its wellness initiative at a recent town hall meeting. The virtual event is part of a series that will explore new ways of dealing with stress and frustration, burnout, vicarious trauma, grief and compassion fatigue.

“At Houston Hospice, we care deeply for the well-being of our staff and volunteers who have endured the hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent storms in our area,” said Rana McClelland, President and Chief of management. “In a unanimous vote, the board of directors and the management team agreed to take action. We launched the Houston Hospice Wellness Initiative, in collaboration with the Mind Body Spirit Institute at the Jung Center, to identify barriers to health and well-being and provide tools to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of our teams ” , she continued. “Personal care is a top priority in our organization. Learning new avenues to healing and incorporating an individualized self-care plan into daily practice will result in remarkable benefits for everyone in our organization. As our teams begin to regain a renewed sense of identity, their families will benefit, their job satisfaction will increase, and palliative care patients and their families will experience a greater sense of peace and compassion. “

In addition to our wellness initiative, Houston Hospice hosted a nutrition conference hosted by the staff registered dietitian. Field nurses, the marketing team, and other staff learned to make healthy food choices on the go. Healthy snacks are available in common areas and healthy meals are offered in the cafeteria. In addition, hospice chaplains organize spiritual care sessions virtually and every two weeks. These recordings provide a safe space for reflection and open dialogue between a small group of caring people. Other conferences on health and wellness and opportunities for healing and expansion are underway.

About Houston Hospice
Houston Hospice is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides uncompromising, compassionate end-of-life care to all patients and families in 13 counties in the Greater Houston area. Founded in 1980, we are Houston’s oldest, largest, independent, non-profit hospice and a proud member of Texas Medical Center. For more information, visit www.houstonhospice.org.