#8 Riverside Healthcare

#8 Riverside Healthcare

Riverside Healthcare

Nov. 21, 2022

Ranking: #8

Headquarters: Kankekee, Illinois

Full-Time Employee Count: 2,799

About: Riverside Healthcare is a fully integrated healthcare system serving patients' needs throughout Kankakee, Iroquois, Will, Grundy, and beyond. Located in Kankakee, Illinois, Riverside is a fully integrated healthcare system serving the needs of individuals and communities throughout the counties of Kankakee, Iroquois, Will, Grundy, and beyond. As part of the system, Riverside Medical Center, a 300-bed hospital, provides a full scope of inpatient and outpatient care and is a nationally recognized, award-winning Level II Trauma hospital with nationally leading programs in heart care, cancer care, neurosurgery, and orthopedics. Its reputation for nursing excellence has made Riverside the area's only Magnet® Recognized hospital.

Q: What is the most unique benefit offering currently in place? If you were to talk about your program with someone who does not work there, what would you share about your program that would make them want to join your team?

A: With the rise of global mental health concerns, Riverside Healthcare focused on developing a robust and comprehensive program to support the Mental Health of our employees in 2018.

While at the time, we already had an external Employee Assistance Program (EAP), it was underutilized and used a reactive approach to mental health problems. After much research and planning, Riverside launched its own internal EAP, known as Well In Mind (WIM). The program had tremendous growth, and the utilization of the program resources continues to grow exponentially. While the program provides traditional EAP services to our employees and household members, the three onsite WIM Counselors engage in a more preventative approach to mental health with their day-to-day interactions with staff members.

The Well In Mind Counselors educate employees and leadership about mental health issues. Additionally, leaders and managers use them as a resource to address communication issues, promote team-building, build resiliency among staff, and monitor for signs of burnout among our providers and staff. In 2021, the Well In Mind Program earned the Platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health from Mental Health America (MHA). The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health recognizes organizations that understand the value of addressing mental health at work and implementing policies and practices that support employee well-being. The Bell Seal is a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who strive to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees. To earn the Platinum distinction, Riverside Healthcare underwent a rigorous evaluation of its policies and practices in five areas: workplace culture, benefits, wellness programs, legal compliance, leadership, and community engagement. Riverside is genuinely committed to the well-being of our employees, and this program is just one of the ways we have invested in supporting our staff and families.

Q: How are you addressing the mental health crisis in the United States as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat?

A: Well In Mind Counselors facilitate group and 1:1 de-briefings following an adverse, traumatic, or sentinel event within 24 hours. Counselors complete in-person rounding visits to units to talk with staff about their stress, how they are coping, and what they can do to improve their mental and emotional well-being. Often they are accompanied by Well In Mind's four-legged team member, Sailor. Sailor is our hound-beagle mix animal ambassador, whose sole focus is Riverside Employees. Sailor is onsite during work hours and often rounds with our counselors or provides pet therapy in our onsite Well In Mind offices. Employees enjoy detaching for a few minutes from their work duties to visit with Sailor, will stop by his office space for some one-on-one time, or send him a formal invitation to their monthly unit meetings; yes, he has his own outlook calendar!

Riverside hosts Relax-A-Lunches both in-person and virtually weekly. Leaders and staff are also trained in Mental Health First Aid, enabling them to identify a mental health crisis and intervene effectively. Riverside Healthcare provides weekly self-care tips and implemented a Wellness Wagon with scheduled rounding on staff at all locations giving out refreshments and self-care items.

Physician and Nurse Practitioner-Led Peer Groups are coordinated and structured by WIM, but led by peer leaders, designed to help build a sense of rapport, connection, and support among providers. WIM attends all organizational morning safety huddles to increase communication between WIM and staff leaders to ensure WIM is aware of stressful circumstances and events in the hospital to support affected staff.  From a physical perspective, Mindful Movement is a twice-weekly virtual class aimed to virtually decrease mental and emotional distress offered to all employees. WIM also meets regularly with Senior Leaders to help with stress, burnout, and emotional support. Nurses are supported with specific support at nursing forums that focus on the trauma caused by the pandemic and the resiliency skills helpful in dealing with the trauma. Organizationally we have started a campaign to remove stigmatism about resourcing mental health services, led by our Senior Leadership.

Riverside Healthcare also implemented an Attitude of Gratitude program. The program allows the Riverside Leadership team to express their gratitude for the daily hard work and dedication our staff exemplifies to keep our patients, fellow staff members, and community safe and healthy. Each week in Riverside's Connection Newsletter, employees can see upcoming events in the Monthly AOG Calendar. The calendar is filled with AOG events and activities around the organization year-round.  Employees enjoy raffles for event tickets, participate in photo challenges, thank a co-worker on Grati-Tuesdays, or complete our Fast Break Challenges on Wednesdays. Twice annually, Riverside Healthcare Leadership caters and attends free meals to all our employees, hosts Starbucks Coffee Day, and caters holiday treats to all locations as a show of appreciation.

Q: What statistic best captures the success of your program’s effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: The REACH program has demonstrated historical participation of 80% or higher for insured employees and over 60% for insured spouses, resulting in 80% of our insured employees and over 60% of our insured spouses seeing their PCP annually. During an unprecedented time for healthcare workers, participants identified as "at-risk" has declined in the past 12 months, which can be partially attributed to 21% of participants participating in our WONDR Weight Management Program achieving 3% or more in weight loss.

From the mental health perspective, the statistics of Well In Mind EAP programs capture the program's success. Since the program originated in 2018, it has seen significant year-over-year growth. From 2018 through 2021, the program had a 76% overall growth in the number of immediate interventions provided (crises) and a 54 % increase in therapy sessions for employees and family members, demonstrating our employees' ability and comfort in seeking out our counselors amid crisis moments for them.

Q: Provide a testimony from one of your employees.

A: One employee sought EAP services due to a domestic violence crisis at home. She received immediate intervention over the phone before engaging in individual sessions. This employee benefited from having a safe, confidential place to explore the trauma, (something she couldn't do with family or friends) and receive resources for assistance with finances, housing, childcare, legal aid, and other supports. The employee learned skills for managing stress and anxiety so she could continue to be the vibrant and hard-working employee and mother she had always been.

"Healthcare workers have faced several difficult years as a result of the pandemic, and at Riverside, we have worked on strengthening and growing our mental health support services for our employees. We have also continued to promote the importance of work-life balance while engaging with employees and showing genuine appreciation for their contributions to our organization through our Attitude of Gratitude program." – Kyle Benoit, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

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