Mary Ann Wietbrock RN MSN CNS CMC, Cardinal Elements Inc., August 2014
Wellness programs have been identified as a method to reduce modifiable risk factors with variable results. A wellness program usually provides cholesterol and blood pressure checks along with nutritional and physical activity resources. Businesses providing a wellness program include a wellness coach. This wellness coach may not be onsite, may not speak English as a first language, and may not be certified as a wellness coach from an accredited program. These variables lead to less than reliable results.
It is important for wellness programs to measure outcomes. If the average blood pressure of adults at one worksite before the wellness program started at 140/87, this represents higher than normal values. An annual average worksite blood pressure should be compared with past averages to identify if the wellness program is making a difference. There is no quick fix to reducing risk factors. The short term benefits to employers are tax benefits, reduced employee sick days, and reduced use of insurance claims. The benefit to the employee may be reduced use of medications from a reduction of weight and regular physical activity.
A wellness program should provide a full individual life style assessment to include nutrition and physical activity practices. It is recommended the program provide interactive onsite activities and identify a measured walking path for employees for use during breaks. These have been shown to reduce modifiable risk factors of employees participating in wellness activities. Healthier employees leads to healthier business. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.