Drink lots of water. Take a walk. Step on the scale. Follow the food pyramid. Turn down the chips for an apple. Do these ring a bell? These are a few small steps towards a successful, personal wellness program. Small steps are exactly where Mercy Health Center began and how it continues to impact patients.
In November of 2012, Mercy Health Center took on a project titled, It takes a Village, which was funded by Kaiser Permanente. This project was designed to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for 48 uninsured, low-income, indigent individuals in the Athens, GA community. In order to do so, Mercy continues to provide a wellness program that ensures three things for participants:
- Improved metabolic functioning indicated by decreased HgA1c, blood pressure, and BMI levels.
- Improved exercise and nutrition behaviors.
- Improved quality of life.
To date, Mercy is very pleased not only with the progress of the program but also with the patients’ progress and growing interests in pursuing a wellness lifestyle. Throughout this summer, a medical student from the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership will be conducting an “Obesity Needs Assessment” for Mercy and will be providing recommendations for the board and leadership team at Mercy on ways to expand the program’s success and offer it to more patients.
Though words may communicate excitement and enjoyment of the program, the numbers gathered at the recent mid-year evaluation of AIC, blood pressure, and BMI levels reflect the true impact of the program. 70-80% of diabetics enrolled in the program have either maintained levels that are in range or recorded decreases in their A1C and blood pressure levels. Not only have over half of the participants lost weight, but 95% have also increased their exercise habits, 75% have improved nutrition, and 90% reported overall improved quality of life since being enrolled in the program. One of the patients represented by these outstanding numbers shared the following words as she reflected over the last few months, “First of all it is such a blessing to be able to get involved with Mercy. Secondly, I am so thankful to be able to have a program where I know that by being involved, I am able to get myself motivated to reach goals in every area of my life. I love the wellness program, and I enjoy every moment from the meetings to the exercise days.”
As summer rolls around, the sun shines bright, and colorful fruits and veggies come into season, may we celebrate the good work being done in lives through Mercy.