JAMESTOWN - WCA Hospital, in collaboration with the Chautauqua County Health Network, was recently awarded a grant by the New York State Department of Health Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play grant initiative aimed at cultivating a foundation of employee health and wellness and accelerating improvements in individual health behaviors and health outcomes.
"We are building a healthy corporate culture that replicates our mission to maintain the health and well-being of everyone we serve," said Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO. "Our goal is to provide a natural work/life balance for our employees that not only reflects a healthy work environment, but inspires our staff to live healthy lifestyles at home."
With the goal of increasing consumption of healthy foods that encourage healthy lifestyles and improve health outcomes, the WCA wellness and nutrition team introduced a Mobile Farmer's Market this year and implemented a number of garden project strategies including, an employee cafeteria herb garden, and employee container herb gardening project. Future projects include a raised-bed gardening and master gardening classes.
From left, Toni DeAngelo, R.N., WCA Community Health & Wellness director; Douglas Landy, WCA Hospital chef manager; Christine Reynolds, director of hospitality services at WCA; put the finishing touches on the WCA Hospital Cafeteria Herb Garden. WCA Hospital, in collaboration with the Chautauqua County Health Network, was recently awarded a grant by the New York State Department of Health Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play grant initiative aimed at cultivating a foundation of employee health and wellness and accelerating improvements in individual health behaviors and health outcomes.
"Sometimes you just need to get your hands in the dirt!" says Toni DeAngelo, R.N., WCA Hospital Community Health & Wellness Director and facilitator for WCA Hospital's new garden projects program. "Many hospitals throughout the state are incorporating novel ways to increase workplace health and wellness. Our projects are a unique way to increase our employees' participation in physical activity while enhancing their overall well-being."
Workplace gardening has a multitude of benefits including: providing an opportunity for exercise, increased flexibility, coordination and balance; encouraging consumption of healthy foods and reducing access to and consumption of foods with minimal nutritional value; relieving stress and promoting connection between nature and people. This has a positive effect on blood pressure, pulse and respiration, beautifies the environment and green space.
"Workplace gardens engage patients, employees, and visitors to come together to cultivate a healthy lifestyle not only at the workplace, but at home," Toni adds. "Gardening capitalizes on the purest relationship between the sun and the earth and involves employees in all phases of gardening as a tool for improving their overall well-being."
Toni explains how anyone can be a gardener. "Despite the perception that gardening is an activity that can only be enjoyed by our older generation, this enjoyable pastime is actually suitable for any age. Gardening truly exudes a sense of well-being and warmth and I would encourage everyone to grow a garden and experience more than you could ever imagine."
To learn more about WCA Hospital garden projects, contact Toni DeAngelo at (716) 664-8677.