Dec 20 2010
The health promotion program design choices depend on the goals and desired outcomes of your health promotion program. When your goal is to help personnel change behavior, reduce risk factors, or save healthcare dollars then your health promotion program would be designed to accomplish those outcomes and a budget would be necessary to support that design.
There are different wellness program design levels depending on desired outcomes and budgets. Each level has advantages and drawbacks. The intentions or results are quite different, aren’t interchangeable as for obtaining the same results, and accordingly shouldn’t be confused.
For example, scheduling activities such as an staff member wellness fair or lunchtime education sessions, or having flyers available don’t normally result in behavior change, but might increase awareness on a topic.
If the goal is behavior change then a different design is required, like Lifestyle/Behavior Change Programs and Organizational Support. The outline below describes the wellness design levels with a brief explanation.
Awareness Programs – at this level a company makes health information available and accessible to staff members. This kind of health promotion program can include brochures on a variety of topics, wellness articles in newsletters, bulletin board displays, e-mail health messages, etc.
Also, most health fairs are designed as awareness programs with vendors providing information and providing medical testings to employees.
Awareness programs are inexpensive and don’t require robust worker or organization time commitments. Notwithstanding, these health promotion programs don’t usually lead to healthier behavior change.
Increasing awareness isn’t usually enough to generate lifestyle changes for most individuals, unless used to motivate employees to register for a health promotion program being offered at the organization or community on the topic.
An example of this would be providing information on the harmful effects of tobacco use and inviting personnel who smoke to register for a tobacco use cessation class.
Education Programs – Educational wellness programs often provide more information on a topic and can also provide time for questions and answers, but are similar to awareness wellness programs. An example is lunch-n-learn sessions on a health related topic.
These cost the company a little more than awareness programs; notwithstanding, they’re still inexpensive and do not require a excellent deal of time for planning or attending a session.
Again, increasing awareness and providing information might not lead to the desired behavior modification unless ongoing support or incentives are also planned.
Lifestyle/Behavior Change Programs – These health promotion programs are designed as 4 to 12 weekly sessions or seminars to provide wellness education, address barriers and provide opportunities to practice the desired skills.
Behavior change programs thus require more company resources, cost more, and also require more employee commitment, time and effort. The results are often the desired positive lifestyle change, which when sustained can lead to potential cost savings.
Examples are use of tobacco cessation classes, weight reduction and weight control meetings, or an ongoing fitness program.
Environmental and Organizational Support – Environmental support is usually considered the highest and most essential level to include when designing your wellness program to support and maintain healthy behaviors.
These kinds of design options include policy changes like -
o Creating a tobacco-free workplace
o Designating a walking path,
o Establishing on-site gyms,
o Ensuring healthy vending machine selections,
o Offering healthy food options in the cafeteria, and/or
o Establishing flex-time policies.
Other examples include subsidizing healthy vending machines or cafeteria choices; reimbursing health club or weight reduction and weight control program memberships; or providing insurance incentives for healthy behaviors.
Ideally, the wellness program design would include some of all of these options. The more extensive and integrated the approach, the more successful the results will be. For instance, a corporation can -
o have tobacco cessation information available;
o can schedule a one hour awareness session on the harmful effects of tobacco use and how to quit;
o can begin an onsite tobacco use cessation program,
o supply self quit use of tobacco kits, or
o support workers to attend a community program; and/or
o on an environmental support level can establish a tobacco-free workplace and grounds,
o offer lower insurance premiums for non-smokers, or
o provide pharmacological quit smoke aids for free.
Health Promotion Program – Components for Success
There are a few key components or elements that should be considered to ensure the success of your Wellness Program or health promotion program. These include -
o Upper-Level Management Support and Worker Involvement
o Active Wellness Committee
o Program is Based on Staff Member Needs and Interests
o Goals and Objectives are Established
o Detailed Action Plan Based on Resources and Budget
o Program Implementation and Internal Advertising and Marketing
o Evaluation of Outcomes and Program