?If you do something to encourage a healthy lifestyle, it will make folks happier, they?ll have more energy, and be more productive,? says Pat Sliva at the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Sliva is human resources coordinator at the Board and credits these positive outcomes to the organization?s five year involvement with Union Hospital?s Workplace Wellness program.
In 2011 the organization implemented a more comprehensive employee wellness program, modeled on the program that Union Hospital offers to its own employees.
The program offers a comprehensive health risk assessment (HRA) to identify health risk factors based on the employees? lifestyle and behavioral choices, personal and family medical history, and clinical measures including blood pressure, cholesterol, height and weight. Employees can meet with a Union Hospital wellness nurse to better understand their health risk factors and set goals for improvement.
The assessment and counseling are confidential. Individual lab or HRA results are never divulged to the employer. Employee group results are combined to give company leaders an idea where opportunities for improvement lie in the future.
Lisa Sidoti, an employee of the Tuscarawas County
Board of Developmental Disabilities, reviews her
personal well goals with Brittany Burgess, RN (left)
and Mary Marshall, RN (right) from the Union Hospital
Workplace Wellness staff.
In addition to the sophisticated HRA program and wellness counseling, Board of Developmental Disabilities employees are encouraged to adopt simple and easy changes to their daily routine like taking the stairs instead of the elevators and using walking track encircling their parking lot on Commercial Ave. SW in New Philadelphia.
Sliva says the new program has helped to increase employee participation to 61 percent of their 114 employees.
?I credit positive word of mouth for the popularity of our wellness program,? Sliva says. ?When employees see other people they?re working with becoming healthier, that helps. Even if they?re not deeply participating, a lot them are actively making changes in their lives.?
Erin Jones, the DD Board?s community relations and special projects coordinator is an enthusiastic wellness program advocate and says the Union Hospital staff has helped to promote the popularity of employee wellness.
?The Union staff has built personal relationships with our employees and their programs offer a tremendous quality,? Jones said.
Provia Door in Sugarcreek began offering Union Hospital?s Workplace Wellness program to its 400 employees three years ago. Craig Mullet, special projects coordinator, says 50-60 percent of their employees now participate in the company wellness program.
The Provia program offers health risk assessments, flu shots, and full panel blood work. Recently, 160 employees participated in their ?Biggest Loser? weight loss campaign.
?Overall, I think our employees are more aware of their lifestyle choices and how those choices impact their health,? Mullet said.
Kim Nathan, Director of Employee Health, Wellness and Occupational Medicine at UH, believes the success of employee wellness programs requires a commitment by the employer and flexibility of her staff to deliver programs that meet the specific needs of the employees they serve.
?It?s a long-term process that typically starts small and grows over time,? Nathan says. ?Our goal in working with local employers is to improve health, increase energy, reduce workplace stress, and instill more confidence in employees. All of this can contribute to better job satisfaction and performance.?
Union Hospital?s employee wellness initiatives have been the recipient of multiple health and wellness awards. The Union Hospital?s own employee wellness program, dubbed Working on Wellness or ?WOW?, has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Health as a Silver Award winner among larger employers. The Healthy Ohio Business Council named Union Hospital as a wellness program mentor, qualified to share worksite wellness programming with other companies.
Nathan?s business clients include dozens of local companies of all sizes employing more than 3,000 people. Union Hospital, with more than 500 of its employees participating in the wellness program, is her largest client.
?At Union Hospital, we have been able to keep our healthcare costs down and have not raised insurance premiums to our employees the last three years. This is quite an accomplishment given the economy,? Nathan added.
?We hold up our own WOW program for hospital employees as a model in this community, Nathan added.
For more information about Union Hospital Wellness and Occupational Medicine Services, contact Kimberly Nathan, RN, at (330) 602-0750.