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Feros Care: Fitness at Feros Forever

Feros Care delivers quality aged care services to thousands of community based clients across four states. In Queensland, programs also include transport, restorative and telehealthcare services.

Feros Care's commitment to promoting health and wellness to both staff and clients is embedded in its 2013-2016 strategic plan. As part of the strategic plan, Feros Care has developed a wellness at work goal that Feros Care will remain committed to providing a happy, healthy, dynamic and energetic workplace that encourages staff to care for each other and to operate safe work practices”.

The program

Fitness at Feros Forever (FFF) is a health and wellbeing initiative implemented under the Feros Care wellness at work strategy. Activities have been delivered online and in person to approximately 200 staff across multiple states. Feros Care utilised the Work health planning guide five step framework (management commitment, wellness planning, needs assessment, action plan and evaluation) while planning, implementing and evaluating the FFF program.

As part of the FFF program, Feros Care has implemented healthy places and healthy people strategies to support workers in making healthy choices at work and at home. Feros Care makes sure that these strategies complement each other, with good work design a priority.

Strategies to ensure the physical, social and cultural environment supports positive healthy lifestyle behaviours at the workplace include:

  • annual FFF challenges that are part of the overall Feros Care wellness at work strategy
  • high level management governance and reporting
  • high level management support and participation (committee and activities)
  • Feros Care healthy food and drink policy
  • Feros Care no smoking policy
  • active transport facilities at all Feros Care regional offices
  • access to a virtual personal trainer
  • physical activities offered free to staff at Feros Care regional offices, across the community footprint and residential villages
  • Feros Care's gym sponsorship scheme.

Strategies to increase the knowledge, skills and ability of workers include:

  • written and face to face education on nutrition and physical activity
  • nutrition and physical activity challenges rewarded with regular bonus points and prizes for individual achievements
  • FFF healthy eating plan resource with tips on what to buy, planning a weekly menu, recipes and how to grow herbs
  • fitness tests
  • DVD of exercises and a printed safe exercise guide and workout guide provided to all participants for different levels of fitness
  • Fitness at Feros intranet portal providing access to education, good news stories and program resources.

Workplace representatives, called Local Leaders, were highly effective in promoting and fostering participation in health and wellbeing activities amongst their peers and teams during the FFF program.  Staff were kept engaged and informed at team meetings, via the fortnightly staff newsletter and social media platform Yammer. The Local Leaders played a key role in modelling and supporting workers to put their new knowledge into positive actions.

Results

To inform Feros Care management and staff that the FFF challenge was effective, engaged workers and was value for money, the following monitoring and evaluation strategies were undertaken:

  • pre- and post-challenge fitness tests
  • collecting data of behaviour change on the Feros Care intranet portal
  • healthy places survey.

To date, approximately 200 of the 376 staff at Feros Care have participated in the FFF program. There has been a significant increase in workplace morale and cohesiveness within the organisation, with staff members supporting each other in embracing healthier lifestyles.

Pre- and post-challenge fitness tests completed by 66 staff showed the following results:

  • 62 per cent (41 of 66 participants) increased the number of repetitions
  • 44 per cent (29 of 66 participants) increased their fitness significantly (an improvement of 20 per cent or more)
  • 49 out of 70 workers lost weight (79 per cent lost 1-4 kg and 21 per cent lost 5-10 kg)
  • a 14 per cent increase in the number of workers cooking fresh food at home
  • an 8 per cent reduction in the number of workers consuming junk food
  • 46 workers had started growing vegetables at home.

An annual staff culture survey, staff meetings and ongoing staff engagement in wellness project planning processes will continue to review health and wellbeing activities and inform future programs.

The next phase of Fitness at Feros Forever will continue with:

  • FFF annual planning, budget and challenges guided by evaluation of previous challenges
  • support to staff to participate in charity and community sporting events
  • featured articles promoting healthy living and celebrating the related achievements of staff members in the Feros News
  • a new comprehensive Feros Care hub for all staff wellness needs
  • reviewing and strengthening policies and strategies to create supportive environments for staff.

More information

Preventing illness and injury is an investment in your workforce. Find out what your organisation can do to improve health and wellbeing in your workplace: