Hospitals will always be treating sick people, but more and more they are focusing on prevention and creating healthy lifestyles. At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Tera Moorehead is director of Community Outreach and runs the Community Wellness and Resource Center.
Among programs offered through the resource center are free seminars — including the Life Lessons seminars, publications, an annual health fair, an onsite wellness resource library, brochures to simplify access to health, health education for adults and children, support for seniors and their families, information to help low-income families and workplace wellness programs.
“Everyone, even the government, is looking toward prevention. The goal is trying to keep people from even having to go to the hospital,” Moorehead said. “So hospitals are focusing on how are we’re going prevent some of these things and then how do we keep people healthy enough to stay home once they leave the hospital.”
RRH recently conducted a mail survey to find out what concerns people in the community have about health. Among the concerns listed were the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, substance abuse and teen pregnancy.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re trying to tackle some of those things with the Wellness Resource Center,” Moorehead said at her office on Thursday.
With a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, Moorehead is a big advocate of healthy habits.
“Nutrition is a huge part of how we feel every day. People should definitely be eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and a lot less sugar,” she said. “There’s so much good in the food we can eat — the vitamins, the minerals, the antioxidants — that can help combat even other diseases like different cancers and stuff like that. Then you combine that with exercise and the two together are a huge part of trying to combat some of the diseases we see. Hopefully we can try to turn this tide of the high rate of obesity and things like diabetes.”
Moorehead also has a masters degree in education and enjoys the opportunities to use that training.
“One of the things I’m really excited about right now is that I’m working with before and after school programs,” she said. “For the month of November, I’ve been at Inyokern and doing lessons on nutrition and health.”
Moorehead said she is hoping to expand those programs to all the schools.
“I’d love to be able reach every single school and do this, because it’s really fun and the kids are great,” she said. “If you can start the kids early on with healthy habits, hopefully they can continue with that.”
Page 2 of 2 - She added that she was hoping to incorporate a parent and family education night into the school program to help keep the healthy habits kids learn at school going when they get home.
“Another thing we’re really trying to get people to know is that the resource center is open to the community,” Moorehead said. “We have different brochures and then we have books and DVDs that people can check out.”
She admitted that the Resource Center is a little off the beaten path at the hospital. It’s in the north Medical Plaza down the hallway from the pharmacy.
“We really want people to start utilizing this,” Moorehead said. “Even if they have questions about nutrition or concerns with a child, they can come in here and get resources and help them determine if they need a higher level care.”
The resource center also offers a workplace wellness program for area businesses.
“It’s sometimes hard for people to get time off of work and even if they can get time off, it’s hard for some of them to get to the hospital,” Moorehead said. “We can offer tests right there on the worksite and we bring the brochures and other information.”
The wellness program can be customized to the needs of the business.
“We have brought physical therapists there, we’ve had respiratory therapists there and in the past we’ve even had doctors actually come out to the business,” she said. “It’s been shown to really help businesses improve their employee’s health and morale.”
For more information about Ridgecrest Regional Hospital’s Community Wellness and Resource Center, call 760-499-3825, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the hospital website at www.rrh.org and click on “Wellness Resources,” or stop by the office at 1111 N. China Lake Blvd. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.