Heart Check program comes to the workplaceWritten by Christine A. Holiday | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellness and work. Sometimes the two don’t go together. Deadlines, stress, difficult interpersonal relationships and irregular schedules all interfere with ideal health. The long hours and after-work commitments often keep us from eating right, exercising as we should and getting to the doctor for regular check-ups.
The staff of the Heart Check program at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center know life sometimes gets in the way of living well, and they’ve organized a screening program that comes to the worksite. It’s an effort Gloria Enk, manager of the Community Health program, said is ”reaching people where they are.”
Where they are is work, with only short breaks or brief lunch periods. The St. V. staff works with company officials to schedule appointments for employees to be screened for five modifiable risk factors @@ total cholesterol/HDL ratio, diabetes, blood pressure, body mass index and tobacco usage. Nurses use a fingerstick to take blood and desktop machines produce the blood test results within five minutes. Fasting is not necessary, but a bit of conversation is required. Each person receives a copy of his/her results and speaks to a nurse about what the results mean.
”The nurses on duty can discuss some lifestyle changes that will improve heart health,” Enk said. ”The screening process has two main goals: It is a valuable tool to help identify individuals who may be at risk for heart disease, and it emphasizes the role each person has in the management of his own health and well-being. Our nurses can answer questions about life-style changes, and make simple recommendations. We’re testing for factors that are under every person’s control, and we provide a variety of brochures with lots of information about diet, cholesterol, and salt and sugar in foods. Our clients are invited to take the ones that interest them, then see their own doctors for any necessary follow-up. The blood tests are 93-95 percent accurate, but they aren’t meant to diagnose heart disease.”
Businesses are a popular site for the screening clinics and those who arrange repeat visits for their employees are given a history for each participant, so he or she can mark progress. Within 3-4 weeks of a company visit, the company receives an aggregate report, telling the screening results of the group, but not identifying any individual. Those companies that plan repeat visits for their employees are given a history sheet for each participant, so he or she can mark progress.
The Heart Check program will visit 34 places in February and March, including housing units, churches, and the Erie Street Market. Mrs. Enk encourages other interested employers to contact her at (419) 251-2063 or at Gloria_enk@mhsnr.org. about open dates and the cost of the screening. The Heart Check staff will visit a worksite before the screening date, and will bring necessary equipment 45-60 minutes before the screening begins. The hosting company is asked to provide room, tables, chairs, and access to electricity.