Program Enlists Staff, Patients & Local Schools To Create A “Culture of Health
The hospital has initiated an innovative wellness program that aims to improve the health of our local community by creating a “Culture of Health” among hospital staff, patients, and even local school children. In this initiative, called the Healing Hospital program, each hospital department uses simple educational tools for patients and visitors that create health awareness and inspire healthy living. The program includes education at schools through books and programs that have an important impact on children and their parents, further helping to create a healthy community.
Embracing the Future of Healthcare
“The mission of a healing hospital is to improve health,” says Kelly Mather, founder of Harmony Healing House, which delivers the Healing Hospital program. “Mendocino Coast District Hospital is embracing the future of healthcare and taking the lead to create a healthy community. There are very few hospitals that have truly made it their mission to heal and not just treat the signs and symptoms of illness.”
“This program is an extension of our wellness strategy,” notes hospital CEO Ray Hino. “The Healing Hospital program gives us the ability to add meaningful depth to our existing program through its emphasis on a holistic approach to achieving and maintaining good health. It also enables us to extend our reach farther into the community.”
It Starts with Our Staff
One of the keys to the program’s success is that it uses the existing positive energy at the hospital to create a culture of health. The traditional hospital mission of service and compassionate care remains a priority, but this new mission offers a way for the healthcare provider and the patient to successfully treat illness together. Our providers agree to serve as role models for healthy behaviors, and educate patients on their capacity to heal themselves.
In the Healing Hospital program, each department adds a simple educational tool for their patients and visitors that creates health awareness and inspires healthy living. These tools have been shown by scientific evidence to either improve health or reduce stress. Some are already in use at the hospital, while others are new. For example, the stress reduction reliever used in the Rehabilitation Department takes a patient from an unhealthy to healthy state in a matter of minutes simply by giving feedback about their breathing and stress level. Other products include educational books, health assessments, guided imagery CD’s and biofeedback systems.
Getting Schools, Kids and Parents Involved
As part of this program the hospital will offer education at local schools through books and programs that require very little time and effort, but have a major impact on the children and parents who make up a healthy community. MCDH plans to work with the two school districts in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, with the goal of introducing a “Healthy Kids Create Healthy Communities” program in the fall when school starts.
The program was initiated in March and, according to Kelly, it takes a minimum of six months to create a culture of health and shift to becoming a Healing Hospital. “Hospitals that truly lead in their communities are changing their focus from just ‘illness care and rescue care’, which tends to increase healthcare costs, to ‘holistic healthcare’,” says Kelly. “Healing Hospitals help patients, visitors and the community tap into their own capacity to heal and get to the origin of illness.”