WORKING IT OUT: As part of its wellness program, West View Health Care Center helps employees reduce stress. At right, massage therapist Carole Hesford helps RN Lorraine Eichenfeldt relax.
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
By Robin Respaut Contributing Writer
Seven years ago, West Warwick-based West View Health Care Center, the nursing and rehabilitation center, had just received a cautioning from its health insurer.
“Our staff was participating in some low- and high-risk health behaviors,” said Hugh Hall, West View administrator, in regard to stress, obesity, poor fitness and poor nutrition.
So West View kicked off a wellness program called Just For You, in which the company offered employees personalized assistance to reduce stress. West View’s 140 workers enjoyed discounted auto repairs with car pickup and dropoff, dry cleaning services, movie tickets and monthly massages. The center is now considering reimbursing gym memberships.
“The staff at a nursing facility is not like the staff at an office, where it might shut down from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. Our place never closes. We have three shifts a day, seven days a week, year-round,” said Hall. “This [program] gives them an opportunity to reduce stress.”
Shifting attention from stress to overall health, the center then inquired about staffers’ eating, smoking, drinking and safe driving habits. The assessment highlighted weaknesses, and the center quickly worked to address them.
“Since the early years, we’ve offered two to three smoking-cessation programs per year. And we’ve probably helped six or eight people to stop smoking,” said Hall.
The center joined the Shape Up Rhode Island campaign, offering Pilates, yoga and nutrition classes.
“A healthy population of workers is a happier population of workers, and they deliver better care to the residents,” said Hall. •