The Scarborough Hospital gets healthy

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Healthy Workplace at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) is about everyone working together to make a difference. As winners of the 2005 Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Healthy Hospital Innovators Award, TSH has demonstrated its commitment to becoming a Healthy Workplace and has been recognized, alongside others for its commitment to developing a long-term strategic approach to the development and sustainability of a healthy workplace.

“We are delighted to have been awarded the OHA Healthy Hospital Innovators Award,” said Dr. Hugh Scott, TSH President and CEO. “One of our priorities is to create and maintain a quality work environment, one that provides opportunities for continuous learning and self-development. Creating and sustaining a healthy workplace is a long-term goal and a driving force at TSH.”

“Becoming a Healthy Workplace is about all of us – staff, physicians and volunteers working together to create a healthier and more positive workplace at TSH,” said Ellen Thuringer, Wellness Coordinator and Chair of TSH’s Healthy Workplace Team. “TSH has made a solid commitment to focus on developing a healthier work environment at all levels of the organization. Being recognized for this award confirms our commitment to, and the value in, achieving that goal.”

TSH has been a leader in recognizing the importance of the health and well-being of its staff since opening the Oasis Employee Wellness Centre in January of 1998. Some of the programs and services offered since then include on-campus fitness centres, complementary therapies such as Registered Massage Therapy, meditation classes, walking programs as well as workshops and resources on up-to-date health issues. Over the years it became increasingly apparent that in order to be effective TSH had to adopt a broader, more comprehensive approach to health.

After considerable research and consultation, TSH selected the National Quality Institute Progressive Excellence Program (NQI PEP) as the framework to guide its strategy. September 2004 marked the inception of the Healthy Workplace Team and a more strategic approach to Healthy Workplace. TSH recognizes the value in viewing a healthy workplace as being made up of three complementary elements: individual health practices, the physical environment, and the social environment.

During the last week of October this year, TSH celebrated Canada’s Healthy Workplace Week. The week was a huge success where many staff participated in planned events, activities, and contests and came out to view the educational displays and health and wellness information booths available.

“Engaging staff in improving and developing the workplace is a key principle to Healthy Workplace and a key priority for our hospital,” said Thuringer. “A number of front-line staff are active, contributing members of our Healthy Workplace Team and we are always actively looking at other ways for more employees to get involved and engaged in changing the workplace in a positive way. We’re thrilled that every day more and more members of the TSH community see the value in having a healthier workplace and see the difference they themselves can make. It’s about all of us.”

Over the coming months, the Healthy Workplace Team at TSH will be working on developing a solid Healthy Workplace plan, using valuable staff feedback and results from TSH’s Healthy Workplace survey, which staff completed in January 2005. As the hospital continues along the path towards becoming a Healthy Workplace, it looks forward to achieving Level Two of NQI’s Progressive Excellence Program.

The Scarborough Hospital (TSH), Canada’s largest urban community hospital, delivers innovative, high quality patient care, advocates for our community’s health and wellness issues, and is a leader in research, teaching and learning. TSH is a regional treatment centre for dialysis and is renowned for its sexual assault care centre and mental health programs. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, TSH is also a referral centre for vascular surgery, pacemakers and corneal implants. For more information, please visit: www.tsh.to