New Health Initiative Has Employees Hitting the Stairs

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

One local hosptial is asking employees to trade riding for climbing by hitting the stairs and skipping the elevator.

Officials say it's about staying healthy.

"To get employees to walk the stairwell it needed to be more appealing to them," Veterans Administration Medical Center Site Manager Angela Williams said.

That's when the veterans hospital decided it was time to spruce up the stairs.

"It's just so much more enjoyable to look at a nice picture," Dental Hygienest Traci Reimers said. "It makes it seem a lot faster when you're going all the way up to the top."

The result is patriotic paintings.

"It's wonderful. When we first opened the stairwells and it was complete, they were like "can you put a mural over here and can you do the other three stairwells?" Williams said.

But, it's not just about the scenery.

The focus in hospitals is generally about patient care, but this new initiative is different. It's about caring for those who care for others.

Williams said just a just minutes a day can add up to big health benefits.

"Walking the stairwell less than ten minutes a say improves cardiovascular, your lipids and diabetes," she said, "So, it has a lot of benefits to get our employees moving."

However, getting moving is sometimes easier said than done.

"A lot of times they're behind the desk and don't have a lot of activity, so this is just one quick way to get them mobile," Williams said.

Activity is already booming on the stairwell.

"When it's a day like today when it's nice and hot, they can take this up and down and still get some exercise during the day," Reimers said.

When the employees get exercise, Williams said ultimately the patients benefit.

"If you have happy employees they're going to give you better customer service and you're going to have happy veterans," Williams said.

"We take less time off which means that we're here for more patient care and I think in the long run then that's who benefits: the veteran, the patient," Reimers said.

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