With health insurance costs rising, preventing heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases is
finally gaining attention and momentum in organizations. Helping people stay healthy is a goal of many companies and they are willing to help their employees to do this. Hospitals are no exception.
The Westerly Hospital has been working diligently and creatively to improve employee health by offering employees health awareness, health intervention, and occupational health and safety programs. For these worksite wellness efforts, the Hospital has received the “Exemplary Award” for the third year in a row. This award, the top category awarded out of four possible categories, is given by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI.
With the creation of a multi-disciplinary Wellness Committee in 2010 and additional resources for wellness initiatives offered through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI as part of its employee wellness benefits, many new programs have been offered onsite to promote healthy living and positive health behaviors. The Hospital has offered walking competitions, Weight Watchers, nutrition education, cancer prevention presentations, health screenings, smoking cessation programs, flu clinics, and educational materials on healthy living, just to name a few wellness offerings. Because the Wellness Committee boasts participants from a wide-range of hospital departments, experts from various areas contribute ideas to address all aspects of wellness.
To promote healthy nutrition, for example, this year during hospital week, a farmer’s market
was brought in for employees to sample locally grown foods and purchase starter plants for their own
Additional changes have been made to offer employees healthier food choices on site. The Hospital
cafeteria now offers healthier selections for patrons and includes nutrition labeling for many choices. Food services even instituted Meatless Mondays to promote eating foods with less saturated fat and calories.
And to showcase the benefits of Complementary Therapies and to specifically promote relaxation, a day was set aside during Hospital Week for employees to sample various Complementary Therapy Services like Reiki, “M” Technique (a five-minute hand and foot technique), acupuncture, reflexology, massage, and cranio-sacral therapy.
Overall, it’s been a healthy two years for Wellness at The Westerly Hospital. More employees are
participating in various team-based promotions like walking competitions and “Shape Up Rhode Island,”
and awareness of wellness is definitely taking hold here at the Hospital. With “Exemplary Awards”
received the past three years, the pressure is on for a fourth award next year. And with that in mind, our wonderful Wellness Committee is busy filling in the upcoming months with more, healthful wellness programs.