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Expand occ health role to that of a health coach
Make healthy choices obvious
Cindy Luebbering, RN, a senior health systems manager and occupational health nurse at the Cincinnati, OH-based Proctor & Gamble Company, says that her goal is to give employees information on how to get healthy, stay healthy, and how to live a full and healthy life if diagnosed with a health condition."
Luebbering is responsible for the company's Cincinnati Vibrant Living Health Centers, and supporting the Vibrant Health Center program at its Toronto General Offices. "Being proactive about ways we can all maintain a healthy lifestyle is important to us," she says. "This is not new to P&G."
Information about how to get and stay healthy, says Luebbering, is not always readily available, and discussions do not always happen when the employee sees their physician.
"Our vision is to have the healthiest, most engaged employees in the world," she says. "To that end, we have established two significant initiatives. These really maximize all the great health and wellness programs that we offer our employees."
The first initiative establishes criteria to create a culture of health at all of the company's sites. For example, it's easier for employees to stay fit at work with on-site fitness centers, fitness classes, and marked walking paths, and easier to eat healthy because of a wide variety of healthy meals and snacks in cafeterias and vending machines.
"This is aimed to create an environment that enables our employees to make healthy choices," says Luebbering. "We are creating a workplace where making healthy choices is the obvious choice."
A collaborative approach
The second initiative involves health coaching, done by occupational health nurses for employees who take advantage of onsite health services that are offered, says Luebbering. The nurses were trained in effective health coaching and listening, she says.
"We also did in-depth training with our nurses on all company programs and benefits that touch the health of our employees and their families," says Luebbering.
With the expanded health coach role, the occupational health nurses are taking a more collaborative approach, she says.
Luebbering says that in order to put health choices "front and center" for an individual employee, it helps to know his or her biggest health concerns. "Focus on what matters most to his or her personal health," she says. "Connect the employee to the right health and wellness benefit or program at that time."
Personal health goals
Because occupational health nurses are trained in all internal health and wellness programs, they are able to connect employees to the right program at the right time, says Luebbering.
The occupational health nurses talk with employees about meeting their personal health goals, she says, which may be staying healthy, getting healthier, or living a full, healthy life with a health condition.
"The health coaches also talk with employees about questions they need to ask their doctor and other health care providers, about the health issue or concern the employee has," she says. "We believe that health coaching will positively impact both the quality of and access to care. It is the right care, at the right time, and with quality."
When an employee is diagnosed with a health condition, adds Luebbering, the coaches explain how to manage it effectively and tell them about programs that will help.
"Focusing on our employees and their families and what is important to them in managing health care costs is of paramount importance in how we approach benefits," she says.