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Disease Prevention

Hospital Conducts In-House Employee Safety And Health Promotion Campaign



As part of their effort to practice the wellness concept they convey to their patients, 500 employees at Miami-based Mercy Hospital attended a three-day, in-house health promotion campaign last month that was conceived and conducted by facility staff members.

The campaign, which was initiated last year and will become an annual program, was part of the hospital’s commitment to patient and employee health and wellness, according to Lisa Miranda-Sixto, integrated disability management program manager and campaign coordinator. Since there was no funding allocation for the campaign, the program committee relied strictly on in-house resources and donations, Miranda-Sixto told Wellness Program Management Advisor.

Miranda-Sixto, who is chairperson of the hospital’s employee safety subcommittee, which also helped coordinate the event, said the campaign is part of an effort to create a permanent employee health promotion program at the hospital.

Program Planning

The three-day program, which covered disease prevention, nutrition, stress management, physical fitness and general safety, actually had its genesis in previous in-house health promotion attempts that did not pan out, Miranda-Sixto said.

"The hospital administration was always behind a health promotion program effort, but prior wellness projects designed for hospital employees had not worked," she said. "The administration said they would endorse another effort if we could come up with a new approach."

To fashion the new approach, Miranda-Sixto created a health promotion interest survey in April and circulated it among the hospital’s two thousand employees; the result was a 29 percent response to the questionnaire, which asked employees about their health habits and interests, she said. Interest in stress management, nutrition and general fitness topped the list, she added.

"That survey was a one-page screening tool. We used the employees’ top choices and responses to form the basis of the three-day program," Miranda-Sixto explained. "Now we have something we can use to build an ongoing health promotion program."

In-House Resources

The program committee took full advantage of its in-house resources, Miranda-Sixto said. Health promotion programs were conducted by staff volunteers from, among other divisions, the hospital’s cardiovascular lab, mental health department, pharmacy, nutrition center, diabetes treatment center, quality management department, nursing units, case management sector, rehabilitation department, worker’s compensation office, pastoral care and environmental services units, she noted.

In addition, the committee received donations from outside sources, such as the American Cancer Society and numerous vendors, and also was able to use hospital staff and equipment for the various health screenings that were conducted during the three-day program, Miranda-Sixto said. All printed material was donated or developed and produced in-house, she added.

"We made full use of our internal and external resources," she said. "Having access to hospital facilities, personnel and equipment didn’t hurt either, especially since we had virtually no budget for this project."

Measuring Success

The preliminary feedback from the program has been overwhelmingly positive, Miranda-Sixto said; volunteers and participants gave the campaign high marks for addressing their needs in a productive way while enhancing their work performance, she added.

However, a more definitive method of analyzing the results is necessary to justify continuing the project and establishing a permanent health promotion program, she noted. As a result, an employee evaluation post-campaign survey is in the planning stage; upon completion, the survey will be e-mailed to employees and placed in accessible locations, such as the cafeteria, Miranda-Sixto said.

"This survey will provide actual figures and return on investment (ROI) information that we can use to help us develop a business plan for submission to the hospital administration," she said. "We can document the outcomes of the three-day effort in a precise manner to justify the need for a full-time health promotion program. And to help us get a budget."

Educational Approach

The committee’s educational approach to the project may have been one reason for the campaign’s apparent success, Miranda-Sixto noted. Before constructing the program, the planning committee made sure it knew what the hospital employees needed and wanted in terms of health promotion; equally important was maintaining an awareness of what the hospital could realistically provide, she said.

"It was important to design the campaign around the needs and interests of the employees, but we also had to be realistic," she explained. "In the past, many employees expressed a desire for an on-site fitness center. But, for the moment, there is no funding for that kind of thing. However, there were many fitness-related programs we could provide without that kind of capital."

Miranda-Sixto said the planners took an educational approach to the campaign from the very beginning.

"Educational training for everyone involved, from the program planners to the employee participants, was very critical to the program’s success," she said. "We moved slowly, but with purpose. We made sure our ideas and plans were well thought-out before implementation. And that formula seems to have worked."

Address: Lisa Miranda-Sixto, Mercy Hospital, 3663 South Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33133; (305) 285-2623, www.mercymiami.com.

Copyright 2002 Health Resources Publishing


© 2003 Health Resources Publishing