As part of a holistic approach to enhancing the lives of Hudson Valley residents, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is promoting healthy and sustainable eating, physical fitness and community services through various initiatives at its affiliate hospitals.
As development of the medical villages planned for Port Jervis and Kingston continues, WMCHealth is developing relationships with local, sustainable food organizations, which will offer visitors to the medical villages and their surrounding communities access to fresh, locally grown and culturally appropriate foods.
To support the healthy and sustainable eating programs at HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, in Kingston, one of the proposals under consideration is the development of a teaching kitchen to promote cooking confidence, mindful of dietary intake, and to help visitors develop thoughtful eating practices. The goal of the program is to improve residents’ health markers, such as weight, waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
“As part of this, we’ll also offer nutrition education, exercise, mindfulness and personalized health coaching,” says HealthAlliance Chief Medical Officer Paul Llobet, MD. “We’re developing innovative strategies to change the paths of people living with, or at risk for developing, lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
At Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, also a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, a wellness center is offering blood-pressure and BMI-monitoring services, as well as healthy-living programs, such as exercise classes, nutritional education, walking programs, yoga sessions and cooking workshops.
The “Get Fit Port Jervis” community walking group, which recently celebrated its third anniversary, plans regular walks each week, to bring residents together to enjoy a healthy outdoor activity. Meanwhile, a community yoga group in Port Jervis is also completing its third year of offering free yoga classes to the public.
“Our hospital-based programs are gaining momentum in the community, demonstrating our commitment to wellness and health education,” says Mary P. Leahy, MD, CEO of Bon Secours Charity Health System. “By working with our community partners and providing enhanced inpatient, outpatient and community-care services, we’re already nurturing a healthier community.”
Bon Secours Community Hospital itself will also see significant enhancements under the medical village plan – including a new main entrance and registration area, a renovated bariatric center and an expanded emergency department. There will also be a new imaging suite, with cutting-edge technology provided by Philips and a new on-site retail pharmacy.
A new “integrated care” approach at both medical villages will help break through the traditional institutional barriers that separate mental and physical healthcare, as outpatient behavioral health specialists in the medical villages work in conjunction with primary-care doctors to treat patients.
Future initiatives at the Kingston medical village will include on-site professional health coaches, who will work with residents to help them achieve greater health through diet and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising for all, the medical village health coaches will tailor individualized wellness programs to meet people’s individual needs — as well as care for both high- and low-risk populations.
Programs in Kingston will also include expanded physical medicine and rehabilitation services, an enhanced Wound Health Center and a new Infusion Center, to offer advanced care for patients who need injections, infusions and transfusions as part of their treatment.
But the impact of the medical village will extend far beyond state- of-the-art healthcare services. There are plans for a HealthAlliance Medical Simulation Center and Learning Lab, a technology- enhanced active-learning classroom, a conference center, job- training programs, senior services and other wide-ranging services.
Offering this unique combination of exceptional medical care and leading-edge technology, as well as nutrition, lifestyle and wellness services, these new medical villages will support the residents of the Hudson Valley – body, mind and spirit.