How many of you have had a family member or close friend in the hospital lately? I am so grateful to say that, for the most part, I would consider my family and close network of friends “healthy” – or before last week I would have had to think fairly hard about the last time I had to vigilantly stay with someone at the hospital. Then last week happened. On Thursday, we found out a relative needed to have emergency surgery to repair a ruptured ulcer, another family member went to the ER for low oxygen, and lastly, and most critical, on Saturday a relative had a stroke and was in ICU with a brain bleed. After getting over the initial shock of all of this bad news and hearing that all situations were improving, I immediately started to think about prevention and how, if at all, these instances could have been avoided.
You never know for sure if they could be evaded entirely, but all three instances had warning signs. The warning labels on medications matter; if it states take with food, please do. It means your stomach needs to be coated to allow the medication to absorb and not irritate and cause internal bleeding or ulcers. If you are having trouble focusing, driving, or vision issues – talk to your doctor. It could prevent the issue from further developing.
My intention is definitely not to give medical advice, but when I worked as a Benefits Specialist, I did feel it was my job to educate our staff about the many medical benefits available, including, and sometimes the most important, FREE preventative care. Now, at Purple Ink, I want our clients to understand and highlight all that their benefit plans have to offer.
We’ve shared information about the rising costs of healthcare for both the employer and employee, but think if HR can help employees avoid these very costly hospital stays, surgeries and even ER visits; what a huge impact we can make. Encouraging staff to seek preventative and ongoing medical care for their entire family is critical. Disease management can save lives, and it can merely start after one physician visit.
Did you know (or better yet, does your staff know) that most plans now offer a nurse line that is available 24/7? I’ve used it; it saved us a middle of the night trip to the ER. Promote these benefits using various means of communication, and you will create change for the better.
It’s that time of year to get scheduled for annual exams and flu immunizations. If you feel this is an area you can’t make a difference, think again. If you don’t have time to put together a communication piece or year-long education plan, contact us at Purple Ink. Together we can make a difference and help those who matter most, our staff and their families.