1. Pick a self-care publication.
Whether it’s a brochure, a booklet, or a full-length book, a self-care publication should answer a few basic questions:
- Is this a medical emergency?
- Do I need to see a doctor?
- Can I treat this myself?
- How can I treat myself?
A basic family self-care book is appropriate for most employees, but you may want to explore a targeted self-care program for specific populations, such as seniors, pregnant women, students, or members of the military.
2. Host a self-care workshop.
Not surprisingly, a self-care program works best when people actually use their self-care book or booklet. An instructor-led seminar, webinar, or video will orient your employees to the principles of self-care. Workshops on identifying a medical emergency, doctor/patient communication, using a self-care guide or financial wellness can help your employees get the most out of their medical self-care program and encourage them to use their self-care book as a reference tool.
3. Provide a nurse advice line.
A 24-hour nurse advice line — staffed by live, qualified experts — can assess a person’s medical situation and recommend a course of action. Many nurse advice lines also offer an audio library of health topics to provide general reference information.
4. Incorporate online self-care, or self-care software.
Digital self-care has come a long way in a very short time. There are more options available than ever before, from smartphone apps to intranet databases to web-based portals. Health portals can save employees from cyberchondria and provide a reliable source of digital health information. But whatever tool you choose to use, make sure it’s in a format your employees will use (many people still don’t have smartphones — or even computers at home).
5. Promote, promote, promote.
With a medical self-care program, communication is key. Keep medical self-care at employees’ fingertips by tying self-care tips into all of your wellness communications; newsletters, postcards, flyers, paycheck inserts, emails, and fridge magnets. (Here are five more tips for promoting self-care in your wellness efforts.)
6. Evaluate your self-care program.
After 9 months, distribute surveys and ask employees report how often they used self-care materials and whether they were able to avoid a missed day of work or an unnecessary doctor or ER visit. You’ll be able to use this data to calculate your ROI and make adjustments for the next year of your program. This is also a good opportunity to solicit feedback from your employees about how to make your program better.
Do you have a medical self-care program at your workforce? What’s working for you?