Best Practice Workplace Health and Well being Strategies
What do workplaces have in common when it comes to demonstrating best practice in their health and well being initiatives?
They demonstrate an outstanding commitment to understanding employees’ health and well being needs and provide innovative, highly targeted and accessible initiatives. Their holistic programs focus on physical and psychological health, work/life balance and financial well being. A strategic approach and effective evaluation of programs have lead to increasingly innovative and successful health and wellbeing initiatives.
Benefits to individuals and workplaces
The benefits of these programs to individuals and to the organisations are manifold.
Ive found individual cases of potentially life saving interventions as well as evidence of positive lifestyle changes in areas such as work and life balance, exercise, fitness, nutrition and weight reduction.
Benefits to workplaces include:
positive impacts on retention, recruitment and engagement;
decreases in stress claims, loss time injury, workers compensation claims and absenteeism;
staff feeling proud to be part of these organisations.
Creating an Award winning initiative
A great example of an organisation with an outstanding health & well being program is Greenslopes Private Hospital (GPH).
The GPH Wellness Centre was launched in 2003, providing employees with a facility to improve their health and well being. In 2005, the hospital launched a new “[email protected]” initiative, encompassing Human Resources (HR), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), Learning and Development, Greenslopes Wellness Program, Social Club and Library. This was designed to provide a more coordinated and collaborative approach to organisational wellness.
“With an increasingly competitive employment marketplace, and nursing shortage, increasing flexibility of work practices and the GPH wellness program were implemented as a key recruitment and retention strategy.
Other drivers included corporate social responsibility, an aging workforce, work intensification, increasing workers compensation costs, work life expectations, and ‘walking the talk’ as a health care organisation” explains Renae Long, GPH Human Resources Manager.
Long says “At GPH we have a comprehensive range of options for changing lifestyles and family demands. As we are a Hospital and as such operate 24/7 our staff has the option of tailored work hours to suit their family, educational and lifestyle commitments.”
GPH provides an extensive range of flexible work practices and well being options. These include an EAP program, gym, child care on site, many professional development opportunities, external education grants and scholarships for staff, the introduction of a recognition and rewards system, paid maternity leave provisions, support for financial wellness, a subsidised staff bistro providing healthy meal options, internet access via personal workstation or bistro IT booths, and many many, more initiatives.
Renae Long from GPH says “the benefits of our initiatives for employees include improved health and well being, job satisfaction, work life balance, productivity and financial literacy and retirement planning. This provides our staff with employment satisfaction and is supported by our increasing retention rates.”
Leadership, management commitment and employee engagement are key to the success of well being programs. This commitment and engagement require role modelling by senior management, consultation, on-going education, sophisticated facilitated dialogue and program evaluation.
After suffering a stroke not only does your self esteem take a bashing but also your general health wellness fitness. Unfortunately your family suffers right along with you. They are faced with the process of trying to care for you throughout your rehabilitation. As a stroke survivor you are now confronted with two major challenges, regaining your former physical capabilities, and defeating depression which is likely to follow.
Health wellness fitness research shows that it is likely that 10 to 27 per cent of victims who have survived a stroke will suffer a major depression. Additionally within two months a further 15 to 40% are likely to experience symptoms of the onset of a major depression. Unfortunately it is likely to take up to one year for the depression to be satisfactorily treated.
There seems to be a link directly between the severity of the depression and the amount of functionality that the patient loses. When a lengthy treatment period lies ahead is quite easy to become depressed because there is no guarantee that the victim will completely reclaim their functionality. Depending on the severity and the location of the stroke, behavioural and personality changes may be a possibility. These changes can hinder recovery.
There is a chance that the changes may be put down to being caused by the stroke when in fact the changes are caused by depression which may go unnoticed. Not every stroke survivor takes depression, but there are a large number who do. If you know of, or are caring for someone who has just suffered a stroke, be aware that they may not have been diagnosed with depression, and that the onset of depression may occur, or already have occurred unnoticed. A person recovering from a stroke stands a better chance of a quicker recovery if any depression is treated quickly.
Several different symptoms of depression have been identified in the aftermath of a stroke, and anyone who does experience five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks is advised to seek medical help from their general practitioner as soon as possible.
* An ongoing mood of sadness which may be persistent
* Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or guilt
* Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
* A loss of interest in sex
* less energy, feelings of fatigue and being “slowed down”
* disturbances in sleeping (insomnia, early-morning waking or oversleeping)
* Eating difficulties (loss of appetite, loss or gain of weight)
* Difficulty with concentration, remembering, and making decisions
* Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
* Easily irritated
* Crying excessively
* Consistent Chronic aches or pains that don’t seem to respond to treatment
Many patients suffering from a major depression following a stroke have found that being treated with antidepressants for their depression has helped improve their general health wellness fitness This improvement in their ability to function has helped them towards a quicker rehabilitation. Naturally it is important that family members up-date doctors and therapists who are involved in the caring process of any medical changes, or any behavioral changes that take place. A medical interaction might be responsible for these changes, or it could be something changing with the patient’s condition, and the cause needs to be identified.
Being aware of all these possibilities and the fact that depression is likely following a stroke, can ensure that a stroke victim receives the best possible care giving them the best chance of recovery.
I’m doing something different in this time. Instead of the usual injury this and neuromuscular disorder that, I’m going to discuss health wellness. If you exercise and do yoga regularly, are you contributing to your health wellness? Of course you are. What about taking vitamins and supplements? Absolutely. Staying active with regular exercises and having a proper diet and nutrition are only a few components of good health. Not a lot of people know about it. But there are five components to health wellness.
Most people already knew about exercises and proper eating and nutrition. The third part of wellness is good old rest. That’s right. Rest. Passing out when you’re drunk is not considered as rest. Believe me. I tried it and it didn’t work. Your body and mind endure a lot of physical strains and mental stress throughout the day. The cells in your body and mind need to recharge completely before the dawn of a new day.
Have you ever encountered or dealt with someone who is bitter, doubtful and pessimistic? Unfortunately, there are plenty of half-empty-glass kinds of people. I believe that the fourth part of wellness is the most difficult to achieve. You need to train your mind and remind yourself constantly to have a positive mental attitude (PMA). It’s not easy, but doable. If I can develop a PMA, so can you. PMA requires constant self awareness of your actions and thoughts.
There will be time when you forget about PMA, and you’ll slip. You may be impatient and be quick to anger about something. You may regret about what you did or said. And that’s okay. We’re all humans and no one is perfect. The key to PMA is to realize what you did or said and avoid the repeat in the future.
Before I reveal the final part of wellness, let’s think about exercise, nutrition, rest and positive mental attitude. You stay active with regular exercises. You eat well and supplement your diets. You pass out; I mean sleep soundly every night. You’re positive and always look on the bright side. And for bonuses, you have no pain, stiffness or any other symptoms. Your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level are good. And you brush and floss your teeth twice a day. You have this wellness thing down baby. You’re a wellness superstar.
So, what else is missing? How about taking care of your muscles, joints and spine? When you’re active, you’re using your muscles, joints and spine. Without them you couldn’t walk, run, ride your bike, do yoga or work out at the gym.
Your muscles, joints and spine endure a lot of physical strains and stress during daily living. And these mechanical strains and stress increase with exercises and other physical activities. Why? Because the muscles, joints and spine move when you move. Similar to the mechanical wear and tear in your car’s engine and brakes with driving, your muscles, joints and spine sustain micro-traumatic injuries with daily living, exercises and bad postures. Why do you think people get more pain, stiffness and other muscle, joint and spine problems as they get older? As the wear and tear injuries accumulate, aches, pains, tightness and stiffness become more persistent.
So, how do you reduce the mechanical wear and tear in your muscles, joints and spine? Simple. With preventative chiropractic care. It’s no difference than having a regular tune-up or oil change for your car. You may not agree with me on this. And that’s okay. Positive mental attitude in action baby. You’re entitled to your opinions and thoughts. The final component to wellness is preventative chiropractic care. Let’s think about this before you roll yours eyes.
Chiropractic spinal and joint adjustments restore normal movement which reduce mechanical wear and tear and improve your mobility. Chiropractic soft tissue treatments reduce and prevent build up of fibrosis scar tissues in the muscles which reduce strain and tension in the muscles during exercises and other physical activities.
Regarding nutrition health wellness, unlike what most people think, life is not a matter of living and dying; it is not measured by absolute life and death. Rather, it is being measured by a spectrum of health – a spectrum of health where one side of the extreme is death and the other is that of a healthy well-being, not just of being alive. So, taking that spectrum of nutrition health wellness as a basis, we may say that the healthier one is, the farther he is from death. In this matter, the passage of time is automatically included since one’s heath would usually begin to deteriorate at a certain point in his age.
But even if the deterioration of health is inevitable as time as passes by (at least practically, but not theoretically), we can still do something with personal health nutrition wellness lifestyles and habits to slow down the deterioration of health in a number of ways – or rather in many ways that has to be integrated. Some of these nutrition health wellness improvement ways include proper physical activity, a healthy psychological disposition, and a carefully planned nutrition, with the last one being the focus of below.
Why the proper food is vital for health nutrition wellness and longevity? Our body is being fed and maintained by using different chemicals, primarily with oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon, along with some other elements needed like calcium, iron, zinc, etc. All of these can only be taken from eating and drinking, or in other words, through nutrition, with the exception of oxygen which can be taken in by breathing. These chemicals are what promotes and helps both our mind and body function, so we could say that nutrition is the foundation and the corner of the health nutrition wellness triangle. This is because without proper nutrition, the body cannot have any form of energy needed to utilize its movements, thus hindering the possibility of having a proper physical exercise or wellness activity, thus decreasing health.
On the psychological part, a person without the proper nutrition needed by the mind wouldn’t be capable of higher psychological processes, so the necessity of having a healthy psychological disposition also becomes far from achievement. But, it is important to take note in terms of one’s own nutrition health wellness that scientists are also accepting the idea that the mind, particularly the consciousness of a person, is capable of over-riding its own design. While this may be true, the contribution of the proper food intake toward raising our own nutrition health wellness triangle is undeniable.