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Health Promotion Programs – Building Program Support.

As with any health promotion program, the two vital elements for the success of your health promotion program are upper management support and staff member involvement. Senior management sets the vision and provides the resources from which action plans flow.

Genuine support from senior management also lends credibility to the health promotion program. It’s key that senior management be visible supporters and role models for your Health Promotion Program.

Employees need to be involved on a few levels so that they feel ownership of the health promotion program. Employees are the health promotion program stakeholders!

All personnel should have an opportunity to provide input and feedback through needs and interest surveys and wellness program examination tools.  The information accumulated must be used to plan wellness programs that target those needs and interests to ensure participation, buy-in, and support.

There are several methods to identify employee needs and interests like -

o  Conducting Employee Focus Groups

o  Discussing Health Promotion Interests During Department Meetings

o  Distributing and Summarizing a Needs and Interest Survey

o  Including an Opportunity to Give Suggestions on Each Investigation Tool

Any one or combination of a few techniques will ensure that the health promotion program meets what staff want.  Click here for a sample Needs and Interest Survey.

Step 3 provides additional information on deciding wellness program needs.  But first, establishing a Wellness Committee can help you involve upper-level management and staff members, determine need, and plan your wellness program.

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Starting a Wellness Program.

Wellness Program Step 1 – Be sure to set the Foundation -

Build Support Among All Levels of the Organization

A key to a successful Wellness Program requires management commitment and staff member involvement.

Health Promotion Program Step 2 –  Form a Health Promotion Committee

An active Wellness Committee ensures employee involvement, provides buy-in, upper management support, and maintains a crew that is ready to take action to integrate wellness programs.

Health Promotion Program Step 3 –  Gather Data to Identify Key Needs and Expectations

The next vital component is to base the Wellness Program on the needs and interests of your company and its personnel.

Health Promotion Program Step 4 –  Establish Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are the road maps to guide you where your program needs to go.   These are the foundation for planning and evaluating  activities to ensure that your health promotion program is going to meet your unique needs.

Health Promotion Program Step 5 – Create a Detailed Action Plan

There’s no such thing as over planning!  the best of intentions can get lost, overstepped, or forgotten without adequate planning, and then it’d be all for naught.

Wellness Program Step 6 – Pick and Implement a Plan

Armed with the needs assessment information, a Wellness Committee, and objectives and objectives, it is now time to put your plan into action!

Health Promotion Program Step 7 –  Monitor and Evaluate Your Health Promotion Program

Evaluation is a necessary step to keep a wellness program on target, as well as to ensure that the wellness program is reaching its goals or achieving the desired results.

Summary

These Seven Steps outline considerations for a robust approach to establish an effective wellness program. Can you implement components of wellness activities without following these steps?

Certainly, but you could not have the sustainability or ability to obtain desired outcomes.  Following the Seven Steps doesn’t have to be complicated or burdensome.  A very simple approach can achieve a successful health promotion program!

Accordingly, to ensure a successful health promotion program consider the key components as you plan your health promotion program or improve your current health promotion program -

o  Upper-Level Management Support and Employee Involvement

o  Active Wellness Committee

o  Health Promotion Program is Based on Worker Needs and Interests

o  Goals and Objectives are Established

o  Detailed Action Plan Based on Resources and Budget

o  Health Promotion Program Implementation and Internal Advertising and Marketing

o  Investigation of Wellness Program Outcomes

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Health Promotion Program Design Choices.

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

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Making the Case for Health Promotion Programs.

Major advantages of healthful staff include -

o  Lower Health Care Costs

o  Decreased Injuries

o  Reduced Absenteeism

o  Increased Morale and Loyalty

o  Higher Productivity

o  Decreased Use of Health Care Benefits

o  Reduced Workers’ Compensation / Disability

o  Positive Perception in Community

o  Lowered Turnover

o  Improved recruitment for skilled employees

What’s NOT having a Wellness Program costing your organization?

Consider the health risk factors that are increasing chronic illnesss for adults -

o  59% of adults are overweight or obese

o  More than 60% of American adults don’t exercise regularly

o  More than 75 percent of adults do not consume the minimum recommendations for fruits and vegetables

o  Heart illness is the most common cause of death and the leading cause of death in smokers

o  26% of employees reported they were often or very often burned out or stressed by their work

Health Care Costs are Increasing –  Health Care costs are at a record high of $1.7 trillion with no signs of holding steady let alone decreasing.  The average cost of annual health care spending is over $5,000 per individuals and with dependents nearly $10,000.

Recent data shows that healthcare related expenditures now cost North Carolina businesses thousands of dollars per employee, each year.

Most Illnesses can be Avoided –  Despite the fact that it sounds unbelievable, specialists indicate that avoidable illness makes up 60 percent – 70 percent of the entire burden of illness in the U.S.

In North Carolina, it is estimated that more than 53% of all deaths are preventable, and that 2/3 of all avoidable deaths are because of tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition.

Stress Levels are Increasing –   as company resources become less and companies adopt leaner work practices, the effects of absenteeism and productivity lost have a greater impact.

In a recent national poll, 78% of American Citizens described their jobs as stressful, and the majority felt that stress levels have become worse over the last 10 years. Further, high levels of organizational stress can adversely affect a company by increasing injuries, absenteeism, and health care costs while reducing productivity.

Simple solutions like stress management education, flexible work schedules, quality social interaction, and increased participation in organization decision-making can improve stress levels in the workplace.

What’s the Upfront Cost and Time Investment for a Health Promotion Program?

The price depends on the type of Health Promotion Program implemented.  There are a few choices to promote employee health with benefits and drawbacks of each.  The wellness program design depends on the objectives of the wellness program, the business resources, and the community resources available.

Improving dietary practices, increasing exercise levels, managing stress or addressing work life balance issues, and reducing/eliminating tobacco use, are primary strategies for preventing many of the most common avoidable chronic diseases.

The possibilities of how your company addresses these issues are endless and can range from increasing worker awareness, which could include buying a few brochures on a selection of topics, and measuring walking distances around your facility.

Other possibilities include establishing organizational support such as funding a fulltime occupational health expert or building an on-site health club.

When well planned and based on your goals, any of these wellness programs can help you succeed.  Refer below to Health Promotion Program Design Choices for more ideas.

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What is a Wellness Program?

A Health Promotion Program is an organized health promotion program to assist and support workers in establishing healthier life choices.  This can include increasing worker awareness on health topics, scheduling behavior modification programs, and/or establishing organization policies that support health-related goals.

Programs and policies that promote increased physical activity, tobacco use avoidance and cessation, and healthy food selections are several examples.

Wellness Dimensions

Wellness is more than fitness.  In addition to fitness, the dimensions of optimal health include

o  Spiritual Dimension of Wellness

o  Emotional Dimension of Wellness

o  Social Dimension of Wellness

o  Intellectual Wellness Dimension

These Wellness Dimensions are often depicted as a “life wheel” with examples of health components that include -

o  fitness,

o  nutrition,

o  purpose in life,

o  financial planning,

o  social connections and support systems,

o  stress management,

o  mind-body health,

o  career planning and

o  continued learning.

The key for individual health is keeping the “life wheel” in balance.  A comprehensive wellness program addresses most, when not all, of these dimensions.

Why Employee Health Promotion?

Employees spend a excellent deal of time on the job, and the truth is that our traditional work-week is increasing. In truth, the average American now works about 47 hours per week.

Plus, technologies such as modems, laptops, cellular phones, voice and email have blurred the work-life boundary.  These realities cut down on the amount of time that the typical individual is able to devote to wellness pursuits, and yet personnel are expected to be at top performance when at work.

A recent research study  by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses found that company wellness or wellness programs are successful in assisting staff members make positive health changes because of a few factors like convenience, environmental support, and peer or social acceptance.

What is the Link between Wellness and the Workplace?

Programs and policies that promote healthful behaviors could make a large difference on worker health promotion AND have an impact on the corporation’s bottom line.   Studies have shown that for every dollar invested by businesss in corporate health promotion/health promotion programs, there were savings ranging from $1.49 to $4.91 with a median savings of $3.14*.

In company terms, that’s more than a 3 – 1 minimum return on investment – a number that is hard to ignore, and a best practice that should warrant serious consideration from companies.

Indeed, a corporate health promotion literature review posted in Health Promotion Practitioner Journal found -

o  19 studies found a 28.3 percent reduction in sick leave

o  16 studies demonstrated a 5.6 – 1 return on investment

o  23 showed a 26.1 percent reduction in health care costs

o  4 found a 30 percent reduction in direct medical and workers’ compensation claims

There is little doubt that a comprehensive health promotion program targeted to meet a organization’s specific needs can save money by decreasing absenteeism, lowering healthcare expenditures, decreasing worker turnover, and increasing productivity.

o  United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2003

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Where to Begin with Wellness.

Ten Steps Toward Strategic Health Promotion Programs

The Health Promotion Program management world is evolving rapidly. Each month, there are new research findings that support the premise that Health Promotion Programs and disease management (DM) have a long-term impact on health care costs.

Many large businesses that began Health Promotion Programs three to five years ago are showing savings in health, disability, and employees compensation costs. Small to mid-size businesses are watching all this and wondering where to start with wellness.

Getting senior management support and budget approval is one of the challenges at the starting of a Wellness Program. This is the case because Wellness Programs may be expensive, averaging $150-300 per staff member each year in large businesses.

Most of the savings are not realized for a number of years. This long-term investing is hard for organizations on the move.

The key to success for Wellness Programs is to take a strategic approach. Here are ten steps to consider when starting a Wellness Program.

1. Begin with executive management. Without executive management support, a wellness strategy can fall flat. Begin with the health of your executive team and discover your wellness champions at the top of the company.

2. Analyze the problem. Look at your health care claims and analyze the trends. Which conditions are driving your medical, disability, and workers’ compensation claims and which are modifiable? What’s worked and what has not therefore far? What’s the long-term impact of doing nothing?

3. Hold an initial wellness meeting. Invite your key stakeholders both inside and outside the business. Ask your broker to facilitate the meeting and invite key health vendors including health, disability, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), fitness, and occupational nursing.

Review claims and utilization data and identify key areas of concern. Look at current offerings and see how they can be tailored to the needs of the population.

4. Consider both healthful and unhealthful staff. Since 85 percent of claims are ordinarily attributed to 15 percent of claimants, it’s essential to reach those with the most expensive conditions while also reaching people  who are at risk for developing avoidable diseases in the future.

Voluntary health promotion programs such as lunchtime wellness workshops miss many of the individuals  who need them most. Consider health promotion programs that are population-wide or target intact workgroups. Health Promotion incentives help but do not motivate everybody.

5. Make sure to set short-term objectives for the health promotion programs. Make sure to set some realistic short-term objectives based on your key areas of concern. Are there any plan design changes that could have an immediate impact on spending? Are there some programmatic actions that could have immediate results?

6. Find out what personnel are thinking. Hold some focus groups to determine where individuals  are with wellness. What is working? What isn’t? Just how much interest do individuals  have in the Health Promotion Programs? What obstacles and barriers are personnel experiencing when they attempt to change behavior?

7. Be sure you have a high-impact Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP). Your first wellness dollars should go into upgrading your Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP). A highly utilized Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) can provide a foundation for all your future wellness activities.

A good Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) is a trusted link to the hearts and minds of personnel.  At no additional cost, the Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) can provide needed follow-up coaching and personal attention for personnel who are working on modifiable health behaviors or involved in disease management (DM) programs.

Nutritionists, fitness, pregnancy, and stress management professionals are all part of a high-value Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

8. Be certain to set three to five year objectives for health care savings and measure them. Get help from your broker and insurance carrier help you on long-term objectives for your health, disability, and personnel compensation plans.

Establish program metrics that’ll help you to measure Return On Investment. Go beyond participation rates, completion rates and program satisfaction. Measure changes in readiness, changes in behavior, and changes in risk factors. Establish rigorous methods to measure healthcare savings over the long term.

9. Make sure to set objectives for organizational health. Consider the more intangible advantages of a wellness program and quantify them whenever possible. Include staff member turnover rates, cost of new hires, staff member morale, benefit satisfaction data, and corporation of choice issues in establishing objectives. Establish ways to measure success in these areas.

10. Add specifics to your short and long-term plan. Include a program strategy, a communication strategy, and an incentive strategy that’ll fit with your corporate culture. Focus on integration of related components along a health continuum with communications that are focused, simple, and human.

Establish a budget that includes key components like consumer education, wellness, health risk assessments, and regular biometric screens.

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Benefits of Wellness Programs.

Health Promotion Programs are vital to bettering the health of our nations. Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a great venue for promoting healthful habits.

The workplace organizational culture and environment are powerful influences on behavior and this needs to be put to use as a means of helping employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Benefits to Wellness Programs include -

o  Weight loss

o  Increased fitness

o  Better stamina

o  Lower levels of stress

o  Better wellness, self-image and self-esteem

Businesss can also benefit from Health Promotion Programs. According to recent research, corporations’ benefits are -

o  Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy staff members

o  Lowered healthcare costs

o  Reduced rates of illness and injuries

o  Reduced worker absenteeism

o  Increased employee relations and morale

o  Better productivity

o  Losing weight

o  Better physical fitness

o  Enhanced stamina

o  Lower levels of stress

o  Enhanced wellness, self-image and self-esteem

Businesss can also benefit from Wellness Programs. According to recent research, businesss’ benefits are -

o  Improved recruitment and retention of healthy workers

o  Decreased healthcare costs

o  Reduced rates of disease and injuries

o  Lowered staff member absenteeism

o  Better employee relations and morale

o  Enhanced productivity

A United States  Department of Health and Human Services report revealed that at worksites with physical activity programs as components of their Wellness Programs have -

o  Lowered healthcare costs by 20 to 55%

o  Lowered short-term sick leave by six to 32 percent

o  Better productivity by two to 52%

Thanks to modern medicine, life expectancy for Americans has continually increased. Just how much we enjoy these additional years, however, depends greatly on how we have lived our lives.

If our quality of life is to remain high so that we can fully enjoy these extra years, we must practice good consuming habits, be active and refrain from using tobacco products.

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Health Promotion Programs.

Who needs Health Promotion Programs? When you work in an office or a jobsite or are a member of an organization who spends a considerable amount of time at work, you will benefit from a well-designed worker health promotion program. Employees spend a minimum of about 200 hours a month at work – a considerable amount of time.

Furthermore, stress, distractions and the pressures of the job can take its toll on the worker, which makes it important that a health promotion program is implemented.

Today, all across America, Canada, Europe and Asia, top corporate Wellness Programs are being used to help improve employee conditions at work and reduce the cost of employee health care.

Some of the top Wellness Programs currently in use today include -

Health Promotion Programs – Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) (HRAs)

Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is a top Health Promotion Program currently in use globally. Organizations that implement it determine the safety and health concerns of employees by the assessment of appropriateness of the facilities and equipment against the needs of the employees.

It can, for instance, guide the organization into deciding how much air quality within an office room affects the users and then help the assessment team to come up with the measures necessary to correct the problem.

An Health Risk Assessment (HRA) can also evaluate the level of exposure workforce have to certain hazardous or hazardous materials and practices.

Health Promotion Programs – Immunizations.

This is not always practiced in every country since there are regions where government sponsored immunization shots are available. Nevertheless, it’s also become an important component of the top Health Promotion Programs in many organizations in North America.

Immunization shots, such as those used to combat flu, for instance, are offered to workforce for free.

Worker Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) consist of a broad variety of services. It can range from providing educational resources to personnel regarding health issues to sponsoring health services and medical care. In many corporations, medical and insurance have also become a staple part of their benefits system.

Weight Management Programs

This is another wellness program that companies use, specifically those that offer in-house commissary or cafeteria services. Instead of serving richer, high-calorie fare, cafeterias offer options for a healthier diet, normally in the form of low-calorie foods and sugar substitutes.

Staff Member Wellness Newsletters – Health Education Programs

One of the top Health Promotion Programs that businesses can begin is a self-powered tool using a newsletter to promote wellness, coupled with a visible campaign.

The campaign might  be done periodically and focus on a specific topic, like tobacco use hazards, cancer, stress, carpal tunnel syndrome, safety in the workplace, etc.

The newsletter in itself may be an effective means to deliver information to employees or members of an organization but it is far from perfect. Some employees, for example, may not peruse the newsletter in its entirety or even pay attention to it.

If the issues outlined in the newsletter are promoted through an active and highly visible campaign, it’ll be easier to maximize positive results.

Physical Fitness and Fitness Programs

Another top health promotion program for corporations is one that involves physical activities. Companies often sponsor exercise-related events such as marathons and business sports programs to encourage workforce to remain fit or lose excess weight. In mid- to large-sized corporations, corporations might even pay for fitness club memberships or in-house exercise facilities.

Wellness Program Incentives.

Some of the top Wellness Programs implemented by corporations involve incentive rewards. This involves company-sponsored programs that reward workers for achieving specific wellness objectives.

Participation in health campaigns and signing up for Health Promotion Programs are two of the most widely rewarded schemes. Rewards can range from special recognitions to points (for bigger rewards) to specific gifts. In several cases, cash might also be used.

Nevertheless, incentive systems have had mixed reactions and levels of success. But it continues to be one of the top options among corporations who are willing to modify it to fit their unique needs.

Wellness Programs – Group Activities

In many businesses, businesses take advantage of colleague pressure for encourage workers to take part in Wellness Programs. This is currently one of the favorite staff member Wellness Programs currently in use today and growing in popularity.

Coworker pressure is often leveraged to help promote competitions referring to company wellness and to persuade employees to be active in company-sponsored health fairs.

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Health Promotion Programs – the Good and the Bad.

Wellness programs at the corporate level are beneficial, right? Health Promotion statistics clearly show that such health promotion programs are not only cost-effective to the corporation but can assist the staff member in developing a healthier lifestyle.

With the rising cost of healthcare, health promotion programs simply make sense. So where does the problem come in? Let’s examine the topic from both perspectives.

Health Promotion Programs –  the Good

o  A sampling of corporate returns on investment for health promotion programs –  Bank of America –  600%; General Motors – 370%; Pepsico –  300%; Citibank –  465%; and the Washoe County School District leading the pack at a whopping 1,560%. (Campbell,J., Wellness Improvement Professionals, www.wellnessimprovementspecialists.com, Albuquerque, New Mexico.)

o  Companies with wellness programs have realized a 28 percent reduction in sick time, a 26 percent reduction in adjunctive healthcare costs and a 30 percent reduction in disability and workers compensation costs. (Health Affairs, Volume 21, No.2, March, 2002.)

o  The Washoe county School District in Northern Nevada realized a $15.60 return on investment for every dollar spent as a result of a 20% reduction in absenteeism. (Hardy,A. (2005).  At the Top of the Class. WELCOA’s Absolute Advantage Magazine, 5(1), 14-20.)

o  Health promotion programs provide the structure, encouragement, incentives and ongoing support that many person need in order to make lifestyle changes.

o  Employees also realize returns on their efforts. FiServ, a financial services technology organization, gave workforce who filled out a health risk assessment a significant discount on their health insurance premium. (Holland, Kelley, the New York Times, July 22, 2007.)

Health Promotion Programs –  the Bad

The flip side of the argument centers on basic human rights. Do we want/need our employer to tell us to eat our veggies or lose 30 pounds? Some organizations are doing just that and at least one lawsuit has resulted because of it.

o  Three hundred businesses have requested assistance from a national employment and labor law firm to institute more assertive health promotion programs.(Cornwell, Lisa, Associated Press, Albuquerque Journal, September 10,2007.)

o  Clarian Health, based in Indianapolis, Will start decling employee paychecks by $10.00 for every employee who has a BMI  of greater than 29.9 because not enough personnel were utilizing their wellness services.(Cornwell, Lisa, Associated Press, Albuquerque Journal, September 10,2007.)

o  Scott Rodrigues filed a suit against his prospective corporation, Scotts Miracle-Gro, because he believed the company’s antiuse of tobacco policy violated his civil rights.  The business has a policy against hiring personnel who smoke and Mr. Rodrigues’drug screen was positive for nicotine.(Holland, Kelley, the New York Times,July 22,2007.)

o  Worker advocates are concerned that health discrimination might not be covered under the American Citizens with Disabilities Act.(Cornwell, Lisa, Associated Press, Albuquerque Journal, September 10,2007.)

Penalizing staff by hitting them hardest where it hurts the most,their pocketbook, doesn’t appear to be a favorable approach to molding human behavior.

Such tactics may lead to increased resentments and retaliation, mainly in the form of absenteeism and presenteeism (decreased productivity on the job.) Voluntary, incentive-based health promotion programs, like the one in the Washoe County School District, can and do produce results.

A positive attitude for senior management along with an opportunity for staff to have a stake in the decision-making may yield the greatest dividends to both company and worker.

The motivation and resolve needed to change unhealthful lifestyle habits can best be derived from the basic tenets of encouragement, respect and support.

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Wellness Fair Creating Guide.

Getting Began – Secure upper management support

o  Justifications for having a health fair

o  Health risk assessments

o  Be certain to help for high-risk population –  smokers, obese workers

o  Early detection of diabetes, heart disease risk factors (high cholesterol, high blood pressure)

Health Fair Participation – Identify your audience

o  Staff Members only, whole family, retirees?

o  Community involvement? Theme?

Wellness Fair Time Line

o  Make certain to set a date and time Allow 4-6 months of planning time

Health Fair Planning

o  Identify health-related screenings, tests, other activities you will offer Identify educational literature and other learning opportunities health fair will provide Include any “fun” activities, or food/beverage needs for the fair

Health Fair Location and Logistics

o  Consider location large enough to accommodate the biggest volume of individuals  at “peak time” periods

o  Determine how booths/stations will be set up

Health Fair Providers

o  Target relevant health/safety-related community and corporate providers to provide services, educational materials, incentives and giveaways

Wellness Fair Advertising and Marketing

o  Determine marketing tools to be used to inform employees/participants (posters, mailings, e-mail)

o  Determine any incentives or giveaways that will be included in the fair or used to encourage participation in the fair

Health Fair Scheduling

o  Coordinate timing and events with staff and/or volunteers

Wellness Fair Personnel

o  Schedule appropriate experts Physician or similar healthcare personnel to provide patient consultation for review of blood draw lab results

o  Nurse(s) to administer immunizations

o  Administrative/all-purpose individual to facilitate paper work, finger sticks and to provide general assistance

o  Pharmacist or pharmacist assistant when appropriate Dietitian for nutritional counseling suggested personnel designated for wellness fairs

Footnotes

1 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation via Reuters Health E-Line.

2 Kaiser Daily Policy on Health Report, (9/11/03)

3 www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/press/archive/lower_cost.htm

4 “Is Stress Nibbling Away at Your Bottom Line?” By Stephen Alper, Nov. 15, 2002.

5 Wellness in the Worksite, Michael P. O’Donnell, page 415.

6 http – //www.bmpcoe.org/bestpractices/internal/dayto/dayto_6.html

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