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Survey and Research

Drug Education Programmes: Price and Availability Have Big Influence

Three Mentor surveys built the following composite picture of drug use—and attitudes towards drug use—among young people in the United Kingdom.
  • 67% of 16 to19 year olds said it was never acceptable to take cannabis; 93% said the same about cocaine.
  • 8% of 11 to 15 year olds said they thought it was acceptable to try cannabis to see what it is like; only 2% thought that it was acceptable to take cocaine.
  • The numbers of 11 to 15 year olds in England reporting that they had experimented with drugs fell from 29% in 2001 to 22% in 2010 (a similar pattern was found in Scotland).
  • The surveys found that environmental factors, such as price and availability, significantly influ- enced young people’s use of drugs and alcohol.[15]
Employee Wellness Programmes Offered by Hospitals

In  2010,  the  American  Hospital  Association undertook an online survey of all American hospitals on the subject of the wellness programmes offered to healthcare employees. 876 hospital HR leaders, CEOs and wellness leaders responded to the survey. The most common wellness programmes offered by healthcare organisations in the United States were reported as:
  • flu shot and other immunisation (95%)
  • Employee Assistance Program/mental health services (81%)
  • smoking cessation programmes (79%)
  • healthy food options (78%)
  • tobacco-free campus (76%)
  • safety programme (75%)
  • health-risk assessments (74%)
  • weight loss programmes (73%)
  • gym membership discounts (67%).
The main driver for organisations adopting workplace wellness programmes was to reduce health costs. In descending order, the next most important drivers were improving employee health and reducing absenteeism; improving employee morale and productivity; and providing an example to the community.

Lean Six Sigma Contribution in Hospitals

According to respondents to a 2011 survey, Lean Six Sigma methodologies contributed to the following improvements in 12 Mexican healthcare organisations:

Boards of Directors: Few Nurses Represented

While nurses act in leadership roles in many healthcare settings, they remain largely overlooked for board positions. A 2011 American Hospital Associaton survey of more than 1,000 hospital boards found that just 6 per cent of board members were nurses while 20 per cent were physicians. Similarly, a Gallup poll for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that nurses were seldom viewed as leaders in the development of healthcare systems and delivery. The survey results identified perception as the greatest barrier. 1,500 opinion leaders said that, compared to physicians, nurses were not seen as important healthcare decision makers. However, they said that nurses should have more influence in:
  • reducing medical errors (90% agreed)
  • increasing quality of care (89% agreed)
  • promoting wellness and expanding preventative care (86% agreed), and
  • improving healthcare efficiency/reducing costs (84% agreed).
Respondents also believed that nurses should have more input and impact in planning, policy development, and management. [6]

Workplace Wellness: Obesity of Epidemic Proportions

Figure  3,  see  below,  depicts  the  increasing  adult obesity  rates  in  OECD  (Organisation  for  Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 kg/m² or more.

The World Health Organisation has reported that global obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions. According to data published in 2008, 1.4 billion adults are overweight and more than half a billion are obese. At least 2.8 million people die every year as a result of being overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity virtually doubled between 1980 and 2008. More than 40 million pre-school children were overweight in 2008, with childhood obesity being one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. In addition, obesity is responsible for:
  • 44% of diabetes cases
  • 23% of ischaemic heart disease cases
  • 41% of certain cancers.
Social and economic development—in addition to policies in the areas of agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, education, food processing, distribution and marketing—influence children’s dietary habits and preferences, as well as their physical activity patterns. Increasingly, these influences are promoting unhealthy weight gain leading to a steady rise in childhood obesity. [19]

Environmental Sustainability in Healthcare

A Practice Greenhealth report on environmental sustainability reported that healthcare organisations in the United States:
  • accounted for 16% of the nation’s gross domestic product. (This was expected to grow to 20% percent by 2015.)
  • employed more than 4.1 million people in hospitals operating 24/7
  • spent US $8.3 billion on energy every year
  • operated facilities that were often the largest water users in communities and produced two million tons of waste per year (along with increasing amounts of disposable packaging chemicals, and toxins).
The report noted that substantial savings could be achieved by reducing waste. It was estimated that each dollar a non-profit healthcare organisation saved in energy was equivalent to generating $20 in new revenue. [12]

Workplace Wellness: Healthy Lifestyles for Young Women

The importance of making healthy lifestyle choices in Australia is not fully appreciated by young women or by their communities, and they do not understand the dangers associated with being obese. In 2011, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that 15 per cent of 15-24 year-old females were overweight, and 7 per cent were obese. Compounding this, a 2010 national survey by the Heart Foundation found that only 3 per cent of the population was aware that cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death among women. The consequences of obesity are  far  reaching,  and  include  physical,  psychosocial and financial outcomes that affect individuals and communities alike. It is believed that educating younger women and promoting healthy lifestyles for adolescents will potentially produce immeasurable benefits for families and the wider community. [20]


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