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Holy Cross Hospital: healing the healer.



The name Holy Cross Hospital is synonymous with health care and wellness. The hospital's fine Breast Care Center and Outreach Education Programs have long been respected in the Salt Lake community.

The care givers, or "healers," at Holy Cross see so many of the patients who have preventable illnesses, injuries, or disabilities that it caused them to look at their own employees and begin developing a health program that would place their emphasis on the prevention of such illnesses, rather than the cure.

Approximately 10 years ago, Holy Cross introduced its Wellness Program and began reaching out to the community as well as to their own employees with a lecture series, free classes, written literature, and special workshops. In 1989 the wellness program was combined with the cardiac fitness center which includes the cardiac rehabilitation programs as well as the Corporate Health Education Programs.

Helping Employers and the Community

Holy Cross developed the Corporate Health Education Program to help employers identify health-risk factors among their employees and to provide on-site health education and counseling.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is for people recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery, or other cardiac problems.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation and Fitness Department runs the employee fitness program as one part of its comprehensive services. The department's services emphasize lifestyle, conditioning, fitness, prevention, and health habits. They administer rehabilitation programs for those who have had a cardiac illness, and they encourage program participation for those who are well and want to stay that way.

The Cardiac and Fitness Center periodically has an open house during which they give free blood-pressure checks, free body-fat percentage tests, lifestyle assessments, and a cholesterol profile for a nominal fee. Jazzercise classes are offered on Saturdays in the hospital auditorium. The Cardiac and Fitness Center facilities are open to all employees at regularly scheduled hours throughout the week. Memberships are required for use of the center, and appointments are encouraged.

An exercise physiologist will meet with an employee and set up a customized program for them. The physiologist will then arrange a complete fitness evaluation with a follow-up session on the results. The employee pays $50, which includes a full lipid panel or cholesterol profile.

Through the cardiac rehabilitation program, a monthly "Lifestyle Enhancement" class is offered to the employees and the community. The focus of these classes is directed to those who are heart patients and those who are at risk for heart disease. In-house experts address such topics as: healthy basics, low fat/low cholesterol eating, label reading-shopping, dining out, stress management-relaxation, and communication. The advantage that Holy Cross has is its ability to call on its own staff of highly skilled professionals to share their knowledge with others.

The "Fitness for Everyone" program also sponsors a monthly brown-bag lunch-and-learn session in the cafeteria. These sessions are very informal, and the topics cover a wide range of subjects.

A Healthy Incentive

Holy Cross has not seen a need for extra incentives, such as T-shirts or mugs, to encourage employee participation in their many programs. Improving one's personal health seems to be incentive enough for a large number of employees to participate.

National statistics from the American Medical Students Association state that only 8 percent of American hospitals are smoke-free, and 66 percent do not offer smoking cessation classes to patients or employees. Holy Cross is among the 8 percent of the hospitals in the nation that are smoke-free. Employees who currently smoke are encouraged to stop and are invited to participate in the on-site smoking cessation classes. Smoking cigarettes nearly doubles the risk of coronary heart disease, not to mention the increased risk of cancer. So the cost of the smoking cessation classes as a preventative measure far outweighs the cost of a preventable illness, such as heart disease or cancer.

The in-house hospital cafeteria offers a large variety of food and daily "Heart Healthy" menu choices. All the menu's are printed and sent out to each department.

Spouses are encouraged to participate in all the wellness and fitness programs, just as spouses are encouraged to participate in the recovery of a heart patient. When the employee and spouse can work together on common health concerns, the success rate is much higher than if one spouse is doing it alone.

To prevent the preventable, more of us need to take a pro-active approach to our personal health and fitness. A new challenge for the corporate world is to help employees feel the need for improved personal health and fitness.

Corporate health and fitness programs are thriving across the nation with very positive cost-saving statistics coming in to support the need for corporate involvement. Statistics aside, the most positive effect the corporate health and fitness programs seem to have is the change that comes in personal lives as a result of these programs.

PHOTO : The Wellness Program at Holy Cross features exercise programs, fitness evaluations, and health education.

Raylene Thueson is a health and fitness consultant in the Salt Lake area and the chairperson for the Association for Fitness in Business.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Olympus Publishing Co.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:a look at the Corporate Health Education Program at Holy Cross Hospital of Utah
Author:Thueson, Raylene
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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