Hospitals Provide Wellness Programs to Their Workers

Recently the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) announced the winners of its annual WorkWell Massachusetts Awards program that recognizes Massachusetts employers who put in the extra effort to promote a healthy workforce.

The gold level winners (followed by successful elements of their programs) are:

Berkshire Health Systems: Incorporated mindful-based tools throughout the hospital system in response to recent studies that show increased burnout in healthcare. Members of a Wellness Team were trained in mindfulness tools, engaged in 10-week training programs, and began leading individual and group sessions to reduce stress and promote improved mental health.  The system reported a 73% participation rate in its wide-ranging wellness programs.

Cambridge Health Alliance: The CHA wellness program addresses four core pillars of well-being: self-care, rest and recovery, movement, and nutrition. Some of the program’s offerings include individual and team-based challenges, educational workshops, onsite exercise classes, and healthy food and beverage selections.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: The hospital integrated well-being and benefits under one umbrella to emphasize the importance of overall wellness in the workplace. It focuses on the whole individual, offering a menu of options in four categories – health, financial, community, and whole well-being.

Lowell General Hospital: Its four pillars of wellness are mental well-being, nutrition, movement with a mission, and financial wellness. The hospital challenged the traditional ways of thinking and encouraged employees to look at their whole self instead of just one part of it.

Signature Healthcare: “As a healing institution, we care for the wellbeing of our employees in the same way we care for the wellbeing of our patients,” Signature wrote. “We know our employees are our greatest asset and we are making an investment in their health and wellbeing. Wellness Together is designed to guide our employees on this journey.” 52% of employees are participating, and there has been a 6% reduction in health risk factors.

The only non-hospital gold medal winner was Suffolk Construction, which has a LIVESMART culture. Suffolk says, “Isn’t just about building buildings any more. It’s about building people.”

Boston Medical Center won the WWCMA innovator award for its Employee Assistance Social Worker. That worker provides direct care, training programs, and navigation services to all employees. For navigation, she helps employees find the most appropriate level and location of care for mental health and substance use disorders. Additionally, she helps employees in crisis find affordable housing, provides bereavement counseling, teaches resiliency skills, and more.

MHA has created the Caring for the Caregiver initiative to assist its members create their own programs to advance Employee Recognition & Gratitude, Workplace Safety, and Employee Wellbeing. Throughout the Massachusetts hospital community, efforts are underway – in various stages – to advance these three core pillars of Caring for the Caregiver. MHA is assisting its members by providing resources, step-by-step guides, and best-practice examples now underway.