Boone Hospital Center was awarded the gold level Start! Fit Friendly Award by the American Heart Association on Monday. The award was specifically for the employee program that is run through the hospital’s Wellaware program, which encourages hospital employees to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
“We have an obligation to set an example all the time as health care leaders,” hospital President Daniel Rothery said.
Programs offered include staff-led walks, healthy options in the cafeteria and at staff meetings, employee health fairs and the indoor fitness center.
Food service employee Mark Everett uses the programs offered, primarily by working out in the Wellaware Fitness Center because of the convenience.
“Companies can have a big impact on their employees’ health,” said Karla Johansen, AHA regional vice president for corporation development. “The program also benefits the company.”
Programs such as this can help protect insurance costs, especially for self-insured companies. They have also helped decrease absenteeism and "presenteeism," Johansen said.
“Presenteeism is when employees are at work, but not really able to do their jobs,” she said, explaining that employees are physically unable to do the work or focus.
Health promotions supervisor Jeff Zimmermann said there are programs that allow employees to get out in the community and set healthy examples. For instance, Know Your Numbers is a program in which employees go into the community and check residents' health, such as cholesterol and blood pressure, before they begin showing symptoms.
Zimmerman said the more aware employees are of their own health, the better an example they can set.
“When we’re healthy, we can take care of our patients better,” he said.