The Importance of Staff Wellness Rounding
Henry Ford Health expands wellness rounding program across the system with CipherRounds
We were looking for a way to provide crucial emotional and psychological ‘first aid’ to more of our team members — CipherRounds allowed us to scale our efforts and quickly get our teams the support and resources they needed.
Henry Ford Health, with more than 2,300 beds across Michigan, implemented wellness rounds in 2020 utilizing CipherRounds to provide support to their employees and leadership team after the emergence of COVID-19. The prolonged period of stress and uncertainty combined with the demands of the profession had the potential to result in mood, sleep and mental health challenges amongst staff. Wellness rounding at Henry Ford was established to improve team member engagement, assess staffing needs and provide resources like coaching and EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services for team members in real time. Since starting in mid-2020, the program has grown exponentially across the system, from 5,000 team member rounds when it began to more than 75,000 rounds on frontline staff.
Wellness rounds were first conducted informally. This depended upon local leaders to drive the effort and collect responses from employees about their experiences and needs, without the help of digital tools. While this manual approach could not adequately capture the breadth and depth of their responses, the program still showed promise and suggested there may be benefits to scaling it to Henry Ford’s 33,000 team members. Like their national and global counterparts, staff at Henry Ford faced extraordinary amounts of pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic — caring for acutely sick patients and adapting to rapidly evolving and stressful situations, while also facing risks to their personal health and safety. To better support all staff, the health system needed a systematic way to surface their concerns, provide individualized support and direct impacted team members to relevant resources.
CipherRounds emerged as an ideal tool for Henry Ford to capture high level data and attend to the issues facing staff. The approach was five-fold: build connectivity, provide psychological first aid, assess pressing needs, listen with non-judgmental curiosity, and connect them to the appropriate support such as coaching or EAP referral. This social support has been found to improve mood, sleep and mental health issues, as well as decrease anxiety and stress.
Wellness rounds were deployed as an early intervention tool to debrief with frontline staff and leadership during the COVID-19 crisis using CipherRounds. The team at Henry Ford designed one general script to be rotated each 30 days in order to gain insight into practical and personal concerns. The scripts included questions such as “What has this experience been like for you?” to “What are your worries going forward?”. Rounders were trained to normalize and validate staff members’ responses and feelings, notice intrusive reflections and identify team members in need of more intensive support.
From May 2020 through February 2023, staff wellness rounding with CipherRounds has grown exponentially and resulted in:
In addition, CipherHealth’s platform tracked and logged the units that received rounding, how many employees were touched, the general themes covered, and the number of staff referred to EAP. A particular benefit was the ability to articulate and share staff members’ time-critical concerns with the leadership team. This provided opportunities for the leaders to message responses and solutions in near-real time, which increased frontline confidence that their feelings, concerns and needs had been heard and addressed. Wellness rounding using this method also allowed for team members to have face-to-face wellness checks, which proved very beneficial as many support solutions during this time were primarily offered virtually and not utilized as readily. CipherRounds allowed Henry Ford to use the notes-tracking section to add a narrative to address these observations and needs in addition to the high-level trending of responses to questions.
As mental health issues and high rates of turnover persist across the sector nationally, staff wellness rounding serves as an important tool to provide direct and timely support to healthcare employees. Within three years, Henry Ford Health engaged thousands of employees, captured their feedback and connected them to time-sensitive interventions.