Hope HealthCare Services has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a gold-level Fit-Friendly company, becoming one of the few hospice organizations in the country to receive the distinction.

To be considered for the designation, worksites must fulfill criteria such as offering employees physical activity support, providing options for healthy eating at work, and promoting a wellness culture.

“We help to build awareness among our family caregivers and our staff that it’s important to take care of yourself in order to provide the best care for others,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope. “By living well, our team can continue to perform exceptionally and better serve those in our care. We focus on ways to foster an overall sense of wellness in the workplace.”

Hope’s efforts to promote employee health and fitness include a program with walking routes at each office location; visible reminders to use stairs rather than elevators; weekly e-mail messages about nutrition and exercise; discounts at local gyms, and healthy snacks in vending machines.

According to Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, worksite wellness programs are a proven strategy to prevent major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Wellness programs also help to increase worker productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover rates and reduce health care costs.