Being healthy is its own reward, but that doesn’t stop Homeland Center from sweetening the pot, so to speak, with incentives and challenges encouraging employees to take charge of their health.
“For us to be the best we can be for the group of residents, patients, and clients who’ve entrusted their lives to us, we have to be at our best,” said Homeland President and CEO Barry Ramper II. “That is a responsibility we have.”
That ideal was in the spotlight for the annual Homeland employee recognition event, paired in 2019 for the first time with a health and wellness fair. While Homeland treated employees to food-truck burritos, gift cards, massages, and fun raffle prizes, they also got a dose of health education. Tables featured information on skin health, cardiovascular disease, the consequences of smoking, and bone density.
Homeland officials saw an opportunity to blend the wellness fair with annual recognition day. Raffle prizes that attracted a crowd included big-screen TVs, furniture, air pressure fryers and instant pots, gift cards, and a five-burner grill.
“They’re more relaxed, and they can take advantage of the screenings,” said Homeland Health and Wellness Director Roxane Hearn. “This is something we’re going to do every year from now on.”
Offering chair massages for the first time added a special touch.
“That’s what today’s all about, appreciating the employees,” said Roxane.
Roxane reminded employees that her health coaching is a free benefit, offered to help keep Homeland employees healthy and on the job. She reminded those gathered under a tent in the Homeland parking lot that the true measures of good health aren’t weight but body fat and “visceral fat” – the health-diminishing fat stored around the abdominal cavity.
“If that’s off, you’re not healthy,” Roxane told the gathered employees. “The weight number, that’s up to you. I want you to be healthy.”
The event also recognized Homeland employees who have met their personal health goals. Angelo Evans, a Homeland Hospice CNA, had been to see Roxanne only two weeks beforehand. In just two weeks of going to the gym and cutting sugar and carbs, his visceral fat dropped four points.
Angelo said he finally decided to consult with Roxanne “just to get healthy.” With his excess weight, even simple tasks left him short of breath. Two weeks into his turnaround, he was feeling better and putting his newfound energy into his job. His goal now is to “continue being healthy.”
“I feel great,” he said.
In his work with Homeland Hospice, Angelo said, “I love everything. I love taking care of people.”
Dahlia Dixon, a Homeland Center staffer in the Activities and Dietary departments, said she could see at the event “a lot of great opportunities for people to check in with their health.”
“It’s getting people the resources they need to start taking charge of their health, and it all starts with awareness,” she said.
Dahlia has loved her two years working at Homeland. “I really enjoy being with the residents and hearing their stories,” she said. “I like taking them outside and enjoying that quality time with them.”
Ramper congratulated those who have achieved their wellness goals and then made a surprise announcement about a contest scheduled for July 1 to Dec. 31. Two employees at Homeland at Home and at Homeland Center who achieve the most significant wellness gains would receive $2,500 each. The contest is meant to encourage lifestyle changes that change lives.
“You will gain in years of life expectancy, not having medication, and not having other complications,” Ramper said. “It starts with you making a choice.”
Ramper told the dedicated employees of Homeland that he “could not work nor would I be able to choose to work, with group more highly committed, focused, heartfelt-actioned individuals.”
“There is no group better, I’ll go as far as outside of central Pennsylvania, for skilled nursing, personal care, home health, home care and hospice,” he said. “I thank you all.”
As employees accepted their awards for longevity, recognized in five-year intervals from five years to 35, those who wished to say a few words all expressed their gratitude.
“Thanks for five good years at Homeland,” enthused Homeland Hospice Chaplain Dann Caldwell. “I’m about to finish number six in a couple of weeks. Thank you, Homeland!”
Melissa McCreary, another employee celebrating five years, spoke from the heart.
“Thank you,” she said. “This is the best place I’ve ever worked. I’m so happy.”
The following employees were honored for their years of service: