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LUMC employees are fitter and more vital after participating in the E-health program

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To keep staff sustainably employable, the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) uses BioCheck’s E-health program. Els Koudstaal, labor and organization advisor at the LUMC, explains how employees and the organization benefit from this.

The challenge

Just like in other hospitals, the staff at the LUMC was under great pressure during the corona crisis. “Certainly during the beginning of the corona crisis, a lot was asked of our people,” says Els Koudstaal, who has been an employment and organizational advisor at the LUMC for more than fifteen years. “The work was physically tough, but it was also mentally tough. Particularly shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, when there was still so much uncertainty and little knowledge about Covid-19.”

LUMC employees were walking on their toes for months. Els: “If people do that for too long, they will eventually drop out. Of course we wanted to prevent that. We also wanted to make a gesture to our employees and show that we also think about their health and vitality. That we received a subsidy from SoFoKleS, the Social Fund for the Knowledge Sector, helped with this. This subsidy was intended to promote the health of employees with fatigue or stress complaints as a result of the pandemic.”

The Solution

During her search for suitable programs for which the subsidy could be used, Els spoke with Sonja Smits, her colleague at Erasmus MC. She talked about it participation of Erasmus MC in BioCheck’s E-health programme. “I was immediately enthusiastic,” says Els. “The most important principle of BioCheck, active recovery, really appeals to me. People with fatigue or stress complaints usually know where their complaints come from. They just often don’t have the courage to tackle this. With BioCheck’s programs you get that energy back. Guidance from, for example, a coach or psychologist is often no longer necessary.”

The scientific substantiation also played an important role in the considerations of Els and the other members of the working group. “It is always good when a program has been proven to be effective. That gives a quality stamp. What appealed even more to me, but also to our company doctor: the chance that we can get employees to keep moving through this program. In the longer term, this contributes to the general health and vitality of an employee, and therefore to sustainable employability. That is also important for us as an organization.”

The process started in September 2021 with a webinar for all participants. Nearly forty employees then started their E-health program between October 2021 and January 2022. Els, who also participated: “During the webinar and during the first intake at BioCheck, participants were continuously asked whether it was clear what they were getting into. I thought that was good, because it is a significant investment. Every morning you take a six-minute measurement. You will also train three times a week. What is very nice is that you can do this at your own sports location under the guidance of the app, but it is still a significant investment in time and energy.”

 

The results

Almost all participants completed the program, with the exception of a few dropouts (for medical or private reasons). Based on the initial and final measurements, it appeared that they had all made progress. Some more than others, depending on the entry level. In addition, all participants completed a questionnaire before and after. This also showed that progress had been made. “That was a nice observation for us as an employer, although I personally would have liked to see more progress among the participants. But I am critical and set the bar high,” says Els. “Although the participants participated anonymously, I did speak to some participants. Most of them noticed after about six weeks that they felt fitter and could relax better.”

Els also experienced this herself. “I got to know my body better, but also my mind. I tend to go to extremes. Because at BioCheck you train within your capacity, I sometimes had to take a step back. Then I heard that voice again through my ears: ‘Lower your pace slowly’. While I actually wanted to go faster. You have to comply, because your time will be blocked as long as you are not in the right heart rate zone. This professional guidance is another plus of BioCheck.”

What concrete benefits did participation bring to the LUMC? “In the short term, this may have led to people not reporting sick,” says Els. “That cannot be measured directly, but if employees have serious fatigue complaints, there is a good chance that they will end up in a downward spiral. From that point of view, I am convinced that participating in this program is never a bad thing. What I’m curious about is what this will yield in the long term. Do people continue to exercise because they have participated in this program? BioCheck will map this out for us by contacting the participants again later. As I said: long-term sustainable employability is very important for everyone.”

The sequel

After the successful first process, a second process with LUMC employees will start in 2023. This is financed from another subsidy. “The experiences have been so positive that we would like to continue with this,” says Els. “I hope that the positive stories that our employees may hear from colleagues will make it even more attractive to participate in the BioCheck program. Depending on the results regarding structural exercise, we could consider financing BioCheck’s programs independently in the future. That is a significant investment, but if we have an even better idea of what participation will bring, it is certainly worth considering.”

 

Would you like to know more about the various recovery and vitality programs that BioCheck offers? Look at this page or contact us without obligation for the possibilities, via https://biocheck.nl/contact/. 

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