Heiligenfeld is a fast growing company with more than six hundred employees, and consists of four mental health hospitals in Germany. The company was initiated by Joachim Galuska, medical doctor and psychotherapist, from the conviction that more holistic approaches are needed to succesfully treat patients. In 1980 not one of the existing hospitals was open to his ideas, but in 1990 he met Fritz Lang, an entrepreneur and owner of an old hotel in Bad Kissingen. Together they decided to transform the hotel into a small psychiatric hospital with 43 beds, where a holistic perspective on mental health would lead to new ways of healing. It became a success.
Heiligenfeld views her patients as responsible individuals. The professionals inform them and encourage them to participate actively in the formulation and adjustments of their individual therapy plan, throughout their treatment. This Deze self responsible attitude is enhanced by several groups therapies, which at the start of treatment offer practical help with issues such as individual life style choices. Toward the end of their treatment patients are prepared to integrate their new insights into their daily life. Patients can choose from a range of therapeutic means and treatments. Besides, every patient can make suggestions of formulate wishes for possible improvements of the daily clinical routines.
Attentiveness and well-being
The holistic approach does not only count for patients. It is a well known fact that physical and mental stress are high among mental health professionals. Exhaustion and burnout happen relatively often. Heiligenfeld is aware of this and has built a culture of respect and care for the well-being of employees. The organization invests in an appreciative approach to communication and employees are trained in de-escalation and emotional balance. There are nutrition and work pressure programmes and there are facilities like a gym, sauna and massage. The organization invests in personal development and has designed an internal quality control program me, in which all employees participate.
Every Tuesday morning, all employees come together for 75 minutes to reflect with each other on a self chosen theme. The meeting starts with a short introduction on the theme, after that, people shuffle their chairs to form small groups of 6-10 people. There is no reformulated goal or outcome, everyone leaves the meeting with their own learning and insights. Sometimes there is a collective insight or a concrete initiative.
Good work climate
A survey amongst employees showed that they experience a credible, respectful and fair cooperation with management, that employees have a strong identification with their work, that there is a strong team spirit and that employees experience the focus on safety and health not as a duty, but as a support in their work. In 2011 the organization won the Prize for Best Places to Work in Health Care in Germany.