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Caregivers Across Our System Make Wellness a priority

Left top: Pam Keeney braving the February Freeze 5k. Top right: Rhonda Schaffer meal prepping for the week. Middle: Susanna Taylor finding balance by spending time with her granddaughter. Bottom: Bergie Osterloo spending time with her grandson.

While it can be difficult to give proper attention to the things that serve our body, mind and soul, caregivers across Monument Health are finding what works for them – and sticking to it.

Last month, five caregivers were awarded $500 each for collecting points through LiveWell, Monument Health’s health and well-being program. The program emphasizes all areas of wellness (emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, etc.). The five caregivers shared insights from their wellness journeys. Common themes included more awareness of healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, the importance of spending time with family and the power of habits.

Pam Keeney, Registered Nurse at Rapid City Hospital, has a wellness motto that goes like this: just start moving. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get started, but once I get moving, I feel better and want to do more,” she said, adding that it helps to have proper exercise clothing for each season. Pam participated in the February Freeze 5k Fun Run/Walk earlier this month when it was 8 degrees.

Rhonda Schaffer, Pharmacy Technician at Lead-Deadwood Hospital, said the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is making it part of her routine. She has incorporated meal prep into her Sunday schedule to help her eat healthier during the week. She likes making salads and incorporating different proteins and dressings to create variance. “I have cheat days, but then I get back on track. I remind myself that I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and I don’t want to go back.”

Susanna Taylor, Discharge Associate at Rapid City Hospital, said the LiveWell portal has helped her became more aware of what she eats. “I started adding more fruits and veggies to my diet, and I’m also encouraging my husband to eat better. I even started packing his lunches to make sure!”

While exercise and nutrition are a key component of wellness, making time for things you enjoy is also important. “I’ve made more time to just relax and enjoy my life,” said Rosella Kari, Environmental Services Technician at Spearfish Hospital. “Even small changes can make a big difference in your quality of life.”

Bergie Osterloo, Nurse Educator at Rapid City Hospital, maintains balance by separating her professional life from her family life. She said this helps her to be her best in both settings.

Rhonda said support from leadership has helped make wellness part of the work culture in Lead-Deadwood. They recently received approval to use a room at the hospital as an activity room for patients during the day and an exercise room after-hours for caregivers working the night shift. They also organized Workout Wednesdays, which include lunchtime stretching sessions.

Theresa Ferdinand, Manager of Employee Health and Well-Being, said our health is our most valuable asset. “If each of us takes positive steps for our personal well-being, those we care about and serve – our families and our patients – can experience a better quality of life, too.”

Rhonda said working in health care is a constant reminder of the importance of being healthy. “My health is all I have, so doing what I can to stay healthy means everything.”

Starting this past Jan. 1, every well-being point earned over 10 gets you one entry into LiveWell’s next raffle drawing on July 1. Theresa hopes LiveWell empowers caregivers to be healthier, happier and more productive.

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