Wellness programs top priority at NBHH

The North Big Horn Hospital District continues to offer free wellness programs to the community, placing these programs at the very top of its list of priorities.

“Since we’re here whenever anyone gets sick, I think as a hospital there’s also a responsibility to do what we can for prevention,” said NBHH CEO Rick Schroeder. “I think it’s time and effort well spent to keep people healthy, and it is more productive than to try to restore their health.”

The program, tentatively known as “Home Town Healthy Living,” will offer information about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through nutrition, fitness and using the medical resources available at the hospital to monitor one’s health.

On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, the public is invited to a free educational program from 7 to 10 a.m. in the multi-purpose room at New Horizons Care Center. The program will offer reduced rate testing of lipid panels, including total cholesterol screening. Patients who wish to take advantage of this testing should fast 24 hours in advance.

Free blood sugar checks, body fat analysis, nutrition information, health tips, diabetes information, blood oxygen saturation checks and PAD (peripheral artery disease) screening will also be offered.

Deborah Brackett, MD will speak from 1 to 2 p.m. about issues related to maintaining a personal healthy heart program. This will be a great opportunity for community members to meet Dr. Brackett, who joined the hospital staff in January, Schroeder said.

NBHH will also be offering a free healthy living program called “Lovell’s Biggest Loser” starting on Feb. 21. The program is free to hospital staff and community members and will be led by Dr. Brackett. The program will take place on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at New Horizons Care Center.

A variety of topics will be covered over a 10-week period including nutrition, healthy cooking, fitness, workout routines that can be done at home, restaurant dining, recommended screenings, cardiovascular health, BMI and glucose index, dealing with stress and negative eating behaviors.

To make things fun, participants will have the opportunity to contribute a nominal amount of cash to a pot of money that will be awarded to the “biggest loser” in the program at the end of the 10 weeks.

The hospital will also be hosting a free “mini health fair” on the second Tuesday of every month, with the first session beginning on March 6. Reduced price blood work will be offered and other health information designed to help individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle. A registered dietician will also be available and will speak this month about how to make a quick and healthy breakfast. A different speaker will be featured each month at the fair.

Schroeder will be the very first featured speaker in the series and will talk about changes he made to his own lifestyle that helped him lose more than 100 pounds in the past year. His own personal mantra has become “nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”

“Every first Tuesday of the month we’ve reserved the community center where we plan to have a mini health fair from 7 to 10 a.m.,” explained Schroeder. “Then, every other Tuesday from 7 to 10 a.m. people will be able to get blood tests at the hospital. This will allow participants the opportunity to get reduced price blood tests every week. On top of the talks we’ll have a different type of focus in every session.”

“The thing that is so neat to me about this whole thing is that I feel so good,” said Schoeder. “I have so much energy and I can walk fast now and I sleep well and my mind works better.”

Since the biggest loser program will be weekly and the mini health fair will be monthly, Schroeder hopes that people will get enough support to make significant changes to their lifestyle like he did that will help them to maintain optimal health.

“Part of the reason we want to do this is that we want our employees to be healthy,” said Schroeder, “And, if we’re doing it for our employees, it’s not hard to do it for the rest of the community, too.”

By Patti Carpenter