Leah Lewis Stresses Workplace Health (August 30, 2015)

Leah Lewis articleHealthcare consultant Leah Lewis is passionate about contributing to a healthier society through her business, TO’REN Healthcare Consultancy. She said she decided to take this approach because the health of the workforce is directly related to the health of the economy.

Lewis, who has an M.Sc. in Public Health from UWI St. Augustine, said the healthcare consultancy field is relatively new in T&T, and she encounters a lot of misunderstandings. “It’s not just health insurance or a weight-loss program. It’s really business management consulting in a healthcare setting, so I provide health policies for health management issues, health promotion and health education. It’s more than weight-loss, it’s about physical, emotional, mental and social health, the entire well-being and if people can be more aware of well-being and be more inspired to make changes, I think that it would be so great, so I want them to know it’s a good thing.”

She said many employers don’t see the need in investing in the health and wellness of their staff “but they don’t realize that when their staff is healthier, they’re happier and have a boosted morale, they’re able to perform better and are more likely to stay, so you’re not going to get a high employee turnover. Having healthy staff enhances the image of your company and it will attract people because everyone likes to see when the conglomerate companies are having Sports Days, Family Days, Health and Wellness Fairs, etc.”

Lewis said she decided to tackle the employees on a direct level because “they spend the most amount of time during the day at work, so where else can you make a more direct impact than at the workplace? Then they can also take the benefits of what they’ve learned back to their families, which will help build a better society.”

Lewis said she offers consultations to employers based on need and she presents healthcare policies which would put principles, rules and regulations in place towards positively healthy behaviour by the staff. “For instance, some people have no-smoking policies or would you like to have a weight-loss program in place, because they may realize they have a bulk of overweight staff and it may be better for them to invest in an exercise program that can help them to be healthier or maybe they realize that their staff is stressed out and people are always fighting with each other and they need a stress management program.”

She said she often encounters resistance from business owners who say they are not interested “which to me is ironic because these are the people that you need to keep your business going and you need to care about your human resources.”

Lewis said even when there are health policies in place, in many cases they are not evaluated, which can lead to a loss of money if the program is not accomplishing what it is supposed to do “if it’s running on autopilot or if for some reason, money is just being wasted, resources are being wasted, the gym is there, nobody uses it, the policy is just on a shelf and it’s not being implemented after they spent money to get it done. So I also offer evaluation to see whether they have accomplished what they set out to do.”

She also does health talks and health education to increase awareness, “so that if an employer sees the need to educate their employees, for instance on Chikungunya and they don’t know much about it but they just want everyone to be careful because they don’t want everyone sick at the same time, I come in and provide that healthcare information, give talks, lectures, etc.”

“I want employers to see the value in investing in the health of their employees. A healthy workforce is a healthy, profitable business which functions better. It’s a win-win situation. Society gets healthier and there’s a lesser burden of chronic non-communicable diseases. It eases the burden on the healthcare system if people actually take better control of their health. It’s more of a direct approach rather than a general approach to healthcare. I can actually go in to help these people to change their behaviours and to provide supportive environments that will encourage them to continue the behaviour so that the changes that they make would be longer-lasting.”

TO’REN Healthcare Consultancy’s website is http://www.torenhc.com/ and the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/TorenHC.

Original link: http://digital.guardian.co.tt/?iid=127010#folio=130

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