Meeker Memorial Hospital (MMH) was smoke-free for more than 25 years. As a healthcare facility the sale of tobacco products or smoking has not been allowable in the building. As the number one cause of deaths in the United States, tobacco remains a priority health concern. As a healthcare leader, in May during National Hospital Week, May 10-16th, MMH will implement a Tobacco-Free Campus policy for all patients, visitors and staff. A Tobacco-Free Campus means that tobacco use not only is not allowed in the buildings but now will no longer be allowed on the grounds or in vehicles parked on the grounds including the use of electronic cigarettes. This step as a healthcare leader will align with the hospital Mission.
Efforts are being led by the MMH Wellness Team and Tobacco Free Campus Taskforce. In 2010, MMH was a program recipient of start up grant funding to form a Worksite Wellness Team through the Meeker, McLeod and Sibley Healthy Communities Collaborative with funding from the MN Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Since that time, the MMH Wellness Team has implemented many worksite initiatives serving not only staff but the community.
Now, staff can engage in fitness breaks, access a Mother’s Room, to support mom’s returning to work who are breastfeeding, have a hospital Garden to Table program to provide fresh vegetables to staff and visitors in the Prairie Winds Cafe‘ or for patient meals. There is a new Fit Choices 4 Life menu offered by A’viands nutrition services and healthy catering offered for community groups and staff. Staff are encouraged to exercise using hospital equipment and grounds. More classes and community space is dedicated for Weight Watchers, TOPS and RSVP Bone Builders or other community health programs.
A tobacco-free campus was a long term goal for the Wellness Team to implement. It affects, staff, visitors, and patients. This commitment to healthy living continues to grow inside and outside the hospital; helping MMH fulfill part of its Mission to help make the Meeker County area a healthier place to live.
Across the state of MN, hospitals are working on community health initiatives, an important part of the Strengthening Healthy Communities campaign launched by the MN Hospital Association. Efforts happening at Meeker Memorial support this broad base effort. “As an anchor in our community, it is our social responsibility to not only provide the highest quality, state-of-the-art healthcare, but to engage with our area residents in optimizing the health and wellness of our entire community,” says Kyle Rasmussen, MMH’s CEO. For more information, support classes and materials to assist patients and visitors regarding the MMH Tobacco Free Campus go to: meekermemorial.org