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Minnesota hospitals now providing culturally-appropriate hair and skin products

Across Minnesota, hospitals are extending their line of care products to be more inclusive.

Historically, hospitals have only carried products for white skin and hair types.

Children’s Minnesota Hospital began expanding its line of shampoos, conditioners and moisturizers earlier this year to increase the comfort and trust of its patients, something that Children’s Minnesota RN Heidi Shefland hopes will make people more comfortable seeking the medical care they need.

“I realized the problem was really two things. We didn't have all the sufficient products that we needed. But the second thing was [hospital staff] were not aware of how to care for different textured hair,” Shefland said. “ And I realized that there just weren't appropriate products on a number of different floors. And that there was real anxiety, real nervousness to try and provide the appropriate hair care for patients with different textured hair.”

Shefland said that the previous products on offer did not adequately address the specific health concerns parents and patients had with their hair, noting that the combs could break hair strands and the shampoos could dry scalps.

“It has definitely improved the confidence and the knowledge of our staff providing that haircare, and it has helped with families as well, feeling more confident that this relatively small task can actually appropriately be carried out by our staff,” Shefland said.

Shetland says the addition of new hair and skincare products means more than healthy hair and skin for patients. She says she’s felt a shift in mood now that nurses are able to provide these products.

“Our nurses are so busy,” said Shetland. “So to have products readily available, and to have already completed training that answers their questions, that makes this a less stressful activity throughout the day.”

Children’s Minnesota is continuing to grow its line of products, including proper combs, different shampoos and conditioners, moisturizers, head caps, brushes and hijabs.

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