Hospitals Care for Community with Preventative Programs
By Tom Long
Fiddlehead Contributing Editor
You don’t have to be sick to go to a hospital — local medical facilities offer a full spectrum of health and enrichment programs. They also can be a great place to work out.
“We have a number of programs to help keep our community healthy,” said LeeAnn Moore, manager of community relations and philanthropy at the Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough.
At Monadnock Hospital’s Bond Wellness Center, members have access to more than 60 pieces of exercise equipment, including treadmills, arc trainers, elliptical trainers, rowers, bikes and steppers. There are two swimming pools, and one has a Bowswim resistance swimming system, which allows you to swim in place to amp up your heart rate.
And the gym is available to anyone above the age of 14 through memberships of varying costs.
The gym’s flagship program is called W.E.L.L., which stands for weight, exercise, life and learning. An eight-week program at the gym that meets three time a week for an hour of supervised aerobics and strength training as well as nutrition coaching for those who would like to improve their quality of life through exercise.
There are many other programs as well.
“We have tai chi and Zumba and everything in between,” Moore said. “Instead of prescribing medicine for a health problem, a doctor may prescribe an exercise regime, and we can help out.”
On the third Tuesday of every month the hospital provides free reiki sessions, and it also offers substance abuse and mental health programs, along with a number of community seminars and education programs. Upcoming programs include a seminar on living with diabetes on Jan. 14.
Moore also recommends volunteering as a way of helping community and helping yourself.
“We have more than 130 volunteers, and it’s a great way to get out of the house and socialize,” she said. “We also offer some discounts at the wellness center for volunteers.”
Elliot Health System in Manchester has classes and workshops on learning to care for babies, CPR instruction for family and friends and other subjects. For $35 a month, you may join Welliot at River’s Edge, the health system’s gym with cardiovascular equipment, Nautilus strength training machines and several group exercise classes for all ages and levels.
The gym offers a safe, noncompetitive, supportive environment to help members reach their fitness goals, and seniors and first-time exercisers are encouraged. Experts on-hand will design an exercise program specific to your current level and goals.
The Southern New Hampshire Medical Center west campus in Nashua offers an eight-week introduction to tai chi, a form of slow, deliberate exercise said to improve health and balance and reduce stress. Southern New Hampshire Health also offers Simply Health Podcasts on genetic testing, handling stress, spring allergies and other subjects.
Concord Hospital provides several prenatal programs, safe sleep for babies, reading to baby, infant massage, immunization myths and facts, carb counting for diabetics, CPR for families, basic bleed control, nutrition and fitness classes.
And Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover offers babysitting classes for ages 11 to 14.
Sometimes hospital programs to help promote community health are not just about the body. According to a National Endowment for the Arts study, “the visual, literary and performing arts in hospital outpatient programs” are flourishing.
And that’s true right here in New Hampshire. In addition to its other programs, Monadnock Community Hospital also has the Healing Arts Gallery which rotates displays of paintings, drawings and photography by local artists with the intent of providing “a visual experience which promotes the proven healing and restorative benefits of beautiful artwork,” according to the gallery’s mission statement.