Hope HealthCare Services has been recognized by the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program for going above and beyond when it comes to employee health. In the Heart Association’s effort to promote physical activity and health in the workplace, Hope is one of three hospice organizations in the country to receive this distinction.

The Start! Fit-Friendly program recognizes progressive leadership and concern for the health of each staff member. Hope has been recognized for meeting the Heart Association’s criteria for employee fitness.

“We feel that we have achieved this honor because we really want the best for our staff, just as we want to provide the best care for everyone in the community,” according to Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. “The best healthcare can be provided only by a healthy staff. We are encouraging other hospices around the country to set this goal.”

Adult Americans spend most of their waking hours at work. Many of those hours are spent sitting at a desk. This makes them vulnerable to health risks associated with inactive lifestyles. Studies suggest that by starting a worksite physical activity program and promoting a culture of activity, an organization can:

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Lower turnover
  • Reduce healthcare costs
  • Encourage employees to live longer, healthier lives

Hope’s efforts to promote employee health and fitness include:

  • A walking program, with walking routes at each office location
  • Weekly e-mail messages about nutrition and exercise
  • Yoga classes
  • Discounts at local gyms
  • Healthy snacks in vending machines
  • Staff members are also encouraged to use the stairs rather than the elevator.

Organizations and individuals interested in participating in the Heart Walk or Fit-Friendly program can contact the American Heart Association at (239) 498-9288 or www.leeheartwalk.org.