AUSTIN HEALTH - Workforce Health and Benefits Expo - Austin Health
Commitment to workplace health and wellbeing - 2012 Awards
Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services, health professional education and research in the northeast of Melbourne. Austin Health is world-renowned for its research and specialist work in cancer, liver transplantation, spinal cord injuries, neurology, endocrinology, mental health and rehabilitation. Whilst the Austin Staff spend many hours caring for the community their Workforce Health and Benefits Expo offered staff the opportunity to check aspects of their own health, meet with corporate health partners to gain a better understanding of health benefits provided and make improvements where necessary.
What motivated you to set up a health and wellbeing program?
The Health and Benefits Expo was a key initiative of Workforce Health, Safety & Wellness Strategy 2011/12 – 'Driving a healthy workforce' .
The aim of the Expo was to improve employee engagement and culture and assist Austin Health in determining the health profile and risk of employees, identifying future health needs and to plan for future workforce health and wellbeing programs.
In addition it was seen as a tangible promotion of staff health and wellness, a key HR priority in the lead up to the opening of newly built Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness Centre, sending the message that employee health and wellbeing is extremely important.
What does your program involve?
The Expo was held across 3 campuses targeting a workforce of 8000. Work Health checks were provided to identify individuals at risk of developing chronic diseases. The tests involved a 15 minute personal assessment conducted by qualified Nabenet Health, health professionals. In addition free massages, eye screenings and counselling sessions were provided along with a wide range of information stalls from our Corporate Partners such as DTC, Health Funds, OPSM, ME Bank, Weight Watchers, local fitness centres, local health providers, BUG group and Super funds to name a few. The initiative enabled further promotion of our comprehensive health and wellness programs.
What did you do to promote the program?
Preparation for this event began in 2011. The CEO supported the initiative allowing the best possible locations within the hospitals to be used to help increase staff attendance. He was happy to have his personal WorkHealth Check photographed to assist with the promotion. The hospitals intranet site was used in addition to multiple strategically placed posters and flyers as well as HSRs and committees. The Nabenet health testers were very engaging and an additional person was allocated to walk about the hospitals providing information and encouragement to get involved. They also showed great initiative to move testers into areas where staff were unable to leave.
Who participated in the program?
It was a fantastic result to see a wide variety of Austin employees participate in the expo and meet up with a great range of corporate health partners and partake in the health checks. Attendees included the CEO of Austin Health, doctors, surgeons, nurses, PSAs, cleaners, allied health, security, educators, volunteers, administration and many other staff. A total of 1492 Austin Health Staff received a WorkHealth Check, 200 eye screenings and 25 counselling sessions were provided. The combination of the Expo with health checks resulted in a 50% increase in participation in the event from previous programs.
What was the impact of the program and how was this measured?
The Health Check report from all three sites indicated that of the 1492 staff checked; 89% of workers are non-smokers, 77% have normal cholesterol levels and that 81% of staff have less than a 10% risk of cardiovascular disease within the next 5 years. Areas for Austin Health to address include promoting healthy diet and physical activity levels. Additionally, it was a great effort, after having a Health Check, to a team from the Physiotherapy department participate in the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km challenge - the world's toughest team challenge and 400 staff members join our annual exercise challenge.
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