CHURCH LIFE

Adventist Health Responses to Coronavirus, Supports Communities in Midst of Crisis

Newsdesk Adventist Health Responses to Coronavirus, Supports Communities in Midst of Crisis

By Adventist Health, with Randy Speyer, Mary Parra, and Faith Hoyt

As the spread of coronavirus began impacting communities on the West Coast, Adventist Health made the safety of patients, associates, and physicians their top priority. The hospital system’s highly trained infection prevention practitioners closely followed the guidelines of the CDC and local public health departments. Adventist Health also kept close contact with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that physicians, staff, and patients received the best possible care.
In addition to their response to the safety of those working and receiving care in their hospitals, Adventist Health also launched several resources for both medical and spiritual care to support their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Adventist Health acquires Blue Zones as part of transformation into catalyst for overall community health and well-being
Adventist Health announced in early April that it has acquired Blue Zones®, a pioneer in taking a systemic and environmental approach to improving the health of entire cities and communities. The organization’s work in over 50 communities across America has been credited with double-digit drops in obesity, smoking, and Body Mass Index, achieving millions of dollars of savings in healthcare costs. This revolutionary move by Adventist Health comes at a time when public attention is especially focused on the interconnectedness of our health to that of our friends and neighbors in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Post-pandemic, a focus on improving and strengthening community and public health will be more critical than ever as communities across the nation and globe navigate recovery.
“Adventist Health has always believed in creating environments of belonging and easy access to healthy lifestyles, and we also know that the future of healthcare goes beyond the role of traditional hospitals by investing in our communities to improve people’s overall wellbeing,” Adventist Health President and CEO Scott Reiner said. “Adventist Health’s work with Blue Zones represents the future of healthcare and is a major component of our plan to redefine the role of health organizations across America and strengthen our commitment to inspiring health, wholeness, and hope.”

Higher Ground, hosted by Adventist Health, is a daily 30-minute virtual event moderated by Joe Morrell, administrative director of the Inspire Health Center.

Adventist Health launches COVID-19 virtual assistant and symptom checker
To serve the community’s needs and protect staff and the community, Adventist Health clinics in Fort Bragg, Willits, and Ukiah began offering virtual visits to provide uninterrupted care in early April. Through on-demand virtual visits, using video and audio through a computer or mobile device, patients now receive medical guidance and get care without leaving the comfort and convenience of their homes. Virtual visits are vital to cope with the growing surge in demand for medical services—and have kept health workers and patients safer. Instead of sitting in a waiting room, patients can see their doctor from home, using video from their computer or device.

Higher Grounds virtual event provides spiritual care for Adventist Health associates
In an effort to provide spiritual and emotional support, relevant medical and health information, and creative opportunities for connection, Dr. Jeff Egler, medical director and provider for Inspire Health Center, and Dr. Randy Speyer, mission director for Adventist Health Roseville, launched Higher Grounds on Friday, March 20. This daily virtual event is 30 minutes long and is moderated by Joe Morrell, administrative director of the Inspire Health Center. It was designed to provide a safe place for associates to ask important questions related to their physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. In addition, practical resources are provided and there are opportunities for participants to share creative solutions to common challenges—as well as stories of courage and hope.
Higher Grounds is a way for associates to learn from each other about the strategies and lessons learned thus far in this current crisis. Topics have included: COVID-19 guidance and resources, building healthy immune systems, managing structure and boundaries working at home, and nutrition. Daily participation has averaged around 200, with many responding that the mix of physical and mental health support is just what they need. Higher Grounds puts great emphasis on the unwavering values of openness, authenticity, inclusivity, and prevention.

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