Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one group of individuals have faced challenging circumstances such as compassion fatigue and moral distress – healthcare workers. To offer emotional support to team members navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic and personal situations, UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital started a Code Lavender program in March 2020.

In the beginning, the Code Lavender program was restricted to being a hotline, so team members called or texted to request for emotional support. The program has since expanded to allow for more in-person interactions, depending upon the need of the individual or department.

Code Lavender is a spiritual care-led initiative that aims to offer individual or team support and resources to Finley Hospital team members. This ongoing and in-depth support program is open to any hospital staff or volunteers following a stressful event or when they need empathic listening. Regardless of the reason for calling upon Code Lavender, team members can get emotional support when they need it most.

“Code Lavender is trauma-informed care to our team,” Dorsch said. “As our team members continue to offer compassionate care, they also need to receive compassion.”

The Code Lavender program is available to team members 24/7, giving them emotional support when they need it most. The team that oversees the Code Lavender program includes Finley Hospital’s Chaplain, Claudia Dorsch, a few PRN chaplains, and other hospital-based support staff.

Since the program’s inception, Code Lavender has responded to calls, text messages, and email requests and has assisted care teams through various emotionally challenging situations. The primary reason for creating this program is to let Finley Hospital team members know they are not alone and give them the support they need to continue focusing on caring for others.

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Julien’s Journal, the Dubuque area lifestyle magazine, is a monthly regional feature magazine for and about Dubuque and the tri-state region.

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