Since our affiliation with Planetree in August 2009, we are making great strides in our journey to strengthen our culture of caring and patient centeredness. The first of a three-tiered approach for an organization of our scope was to build awareness of the Planetree philosophy and how it can support our organization’s mission, vision and values. Our second phase for the past year and half and well into Fiscal ‘12 continues to focus on staff education via providing an ‘experiential’ retreat for more than 60% of our workforce. Simultaneously, we have formed a Steering Committee and several teams whose current focus is to capture, communicate and recognize all of the unit/departmentally based Planetree actions and programs that have been initiated to date. The programs and processes, both clinical and non-clinical, share the common goal to enhance the care, communication and overall patient and staff experience and toward that end, a number of new initiatives have sprung up including a focus on patient-centered volunteer-driven programs to enrich the quality of the experience and through continued clinical enhancements.
In particular, “caring for the caregiver” is one dimension of Planetree that the network has embraced to help employees thrive at work and maintain healthy lifestyles. Employees throughout the network are learning a lot more about “wellness” with the launch of the “Your wellness. Your rewards!” program this year. Our network defines wellness as making the right choices in order to stay fit and avoid illness and injury. It refers to healthful eating, sleeping and exercise, managing stress, and functioning safely at work and home.
The network has initiated a new, required annual training program with an overview of wellness, its importance to each employee, and its significance in the work we do. Other wellness resources for employees include an enhanced Employee Assistance Program with online information, webinars and personal counseling, along with smoking cessation support, education, and discounts on products and services to improve and maintain health.
The newest and most exciting wellness offering for benefits-eligible employees is Virgin HealthMiles, an innovative workplace wellness program that rewards employees with cash and gifts for getting more physically active. With more than 65 percent of eligible network employees enrolled in its first year, Virgin HealthMiles emphasizes that “the world is your workout,” meaning that it’s not necessary to join a gym to get fit. The network’s new Wellness Council, comprising “wellness champions” representing departments across the network, is leading and inspiring employees on our wellness journey.
Healthy employees serve as role models of wellness and personal responsibility for the patients, families and the community we serve. With a healthier population, everyone wins.
Across our region, healthcare needs are changing. We have a very diverse community with varying levels of income, health literacy and healthcare needs. We have a generation of boomers about to become seniors, caring for their aging parents and their children at the same time. Chronic illness, obesity and mental illness continue to be issues facing residents in our communities.
While many may view these medical needs as overwhelming, both Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital are fully committed to addressing the health needs of our community. During these difficult economic times for many, we recognize that prevention, screening and well-coordinated care remain paramount regardless of a person’s ability to pay for them.
The work the hospitals engage in goes further than just treating injury and illness.
The impact of Western Connecticut Health Network is far-reaching; in fact, our investment in “community benefit” activities was $110 million in 2011 – directly to and for the people of this region. It is our mission to create a healthier community in partnership with our patients and community. We strive to do just that every day, for YOU.