Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust has piloted the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s Workplace Wellness programme, which is delivered in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University.
This programme offers individualised health checks, lifestyle management advice, one-to-one coaching and educational workshops to raise awareness on topics including exercise, healthy eating, mental wellbeing and resilience.
The pilot was rolled out in November 2015 for an eight-month period. The success of the project has now been evaluated and the results are outlined below.
The Trust opted to embed the Workplace Wellness programme into its existing Healthy Living Services Team.
This enabled the organisation to either signpost participating staff to external support services or to book appointments with the Trust’s own patient support services including smoking cessation and weight management sessions.
Two members of the Healthy Living Services Team attended the Sheffield Hallam University’s (SHU) training programme and began assessing staff who volunteered to take part in the programme.
Over the eight-month programme, around 350 staff (approximately 11 per cent of the workforce) voluntary took part in the programme.
Evaluation took the form of a short questionnaire completed by staff who had taken part in the programme, Survey Monkey and a further data set analysis to assess the sustainable results staff are achieving.
Ann Hobson, Assistant Director of Workforce: “The Workplace Wellness programme was made available to any staff member that chose to have a check. We made it entirely voluntary as we believed that would deliver the best results.“We saw the programmes very much as a staff benefit rather than a management tool to reduce staff sickness absences, although obviously we were mindful that this may help address this important issue.”
Of the 350 staff members who completed a Workplace Wellness assessment:
- 32 per cent were found to have blood pressure problems (high or low)
- 60 per cent had high cholesterol
- 56 per cent had a poor BMI
- 36 per cent had poor fitness levels.
As a result of the assessment:
- 19 individuals were signposted to Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT)
- 31 were signposted to their GPs because of blood pressure problems
- 38 were signposted to their GPs because of cholesterol issues
- 65 were referred to the Healthy Living Service for support with various issues including weight management
In order to obtain service users feedback and to make any required changes to the service, Survey Monkey questionnaires were sent to staff members who had attended a Wellbeing Session. Survey Monkey questionnaires were sent in February 2016 and June 2016.
Staff reported improvements in their overall health and wellbeing:
- 56 per cent had increased their physical activity
- 28 per cent had joined a gym or a running club
- 13 per cent had sought support for mental health
- 51 per cent were more drink aware
- 68 per cent reported making changes to their diet
- 45 per cent reported that they had lost weight
This was in addition to feedback demonstrating that, as a result of the investment in health and wellbeing checks, staff felt valued and appreciated by the Trust.
Staff also reported that they felt more confident in advising their patients on health and wellbeing after taking positive action to address their own health issues.
Ann Hobson: “We have had fantastic, positive feedback with many staff members recommending the programme to other colleagues. Many participants have commented that providing this service makes them feel valued and appreciated and it is now forming part of our overall staff engagement programme.“We regularly capture staff stories on Twitter and Facebook and it’s great to be able to celebrate the achievements of people who are making a real difference to their health and wellbeing.”
Following the successful pilot, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust will be providing health checks for its staff through its occupational health provider South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The offer to staff will be re-energised during November 2017 and builds on the Trust’s Feel Good Pledge campaign, which was launched by the Trust’s Chief Executive.
The Trust is in the process of recruiting to a health and wellbeing lead to continue to harness a culture that supports the health and wellbeing of staff, of which this is one of many enablers.
Dr Steve Stericker, Head of Programmes at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “We are delighted with the successes that the staff at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust have achieved. Ann and her colleagues have skillfully adapted the Workplace Wellness Programme to ensure that continued implementation is a sustainable option for staff and for the organisation.”
Case study 1
Tash Youngman, a Healthy Lifestyle practitioner
“It was a real shock getting my results back from my Wellbeing session and it was a real eye opener as I’m normally a fit and healthy individual.
“The past six months my priorities had changes and I found I was not able to stick to my normal healthy eating and exercise routines and so became overweight. I had poor fitness and had higher cholesterol than what was considered healthy.
“As a Healthy Lifestyle Practitioner, I felt like I needed to set an example but I also just wanted to get myself back on the right track and back to where I belong.
“I joined a local gym and started doing regular exercise and started eating healthily, not cutting out treats completely but eating things much more in moderation – practicing what I preach basically, setting realistic goals.
“Four months later I went back for the same Wellbeing Sessions and the same tests, which included blood pressure, resting heart rate, lung function test, waist to hip ratio, body fat percentage, fitness test, blood glucose test, cholesterol, weight and BMI.
“I’d lost 1.5 stone, was sleeping well, had more energy, increased muscle percentage and fitness and therefore a ‘good’ resting heart rate. My clothes fit well and my cholesterol, body fat percentage, BMI, blood sugars and lung function are all now in the healthy range.
“Six months on and I’ve now lost two stone and my goals are all still in place and becoming a well-established new lifestyle habit. I can totally recommend this service and am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved – it has certainly been the help and kick-start I needed to help me get back to being ‘me’.”
Case study 2
“When I attended my wellbeing session I felt reasonably healthy although I knew I didn’t do enough exercise.
“However most of my readings showed the opposite of what I thought and I realised I needed to do something about my lifestyle. I have since changed my diet using the information provided to me at the session.
“I have also reduced my hours to part time and will be taking up more exercise in the near future. I would recommend the sessions to everyone because it is better to know when things are a bit out of scope than waiting until things are a lot out of hand and it becomes detrimental to your health.”
Case study 3
“I attended a wellbeing session as I was concerned about my health due to my parents being ill.
“My dad suffers from COPD and has had two heart attacks in the space of three months and my mum has been diabetic for quite a few years now.
“I was concerned about my cholesterol and blood sugar levels as I don’t eat meat or diary but I do eat a lot of sugary foods and, at the time, I did not partake in any exercise.
“I was given time off to attend the clinic with no problems, in fact I was encourage to go.
“The practitioner I saw was very helpful and took time to explain the results I had been given and the reasons why my cholesterol and BMI may have been high and the risks that came with the high result.
“This really put my mind at rest as I thought it would have been a lot higher. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and we discussed a plan that would lower both my cholesterol and BMI. She also sent me more information by email that she had found on the internet with more advice on the things I should be eating.
“I now exercise three times a week and have taken up a pedometer challenge.
“I have recommended this session to lots of colleagues already and will continue to do so as I feel that it is beneficial to anyone who has similar concerns as I had. It’s easy to book onto and the practitioner was welcoming and knowledgeable and took the time to explain things.
“The results from the tests I had were instant so no waiting around for the results or more time off to get them.”