Celebrating the Holiday Season while Staying Healthy

Parties, cocktails, turkeys, desserts—how do you stay healthy with all the joys that come with the holiday season? It’s important to remind patients, clients, and loved ones to celebrate in moderation and to keep in mind some tips for staying healthy throughout the holiday season.

We pulled a few of our favorites from the Mayo Clinic, CDC, and USDA:

Make sure to visit us on SurroundHealth for more tips & tools!

We would like to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all our members and followers and hope that you all enjoy safe and healthy holidays with your families and loved ones! We are truly thankful for each and every one of you!

happy thanksgiving

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3 Tips to Help Patients Combat Chronic Stress

As the holiday season looms, many people begin to experience high levels of stress. In a recent article by member Patricia Hernandez, MPH, MSW, CHES, she explains that while certain levels of stress are normal and can actually prove to be helpful, overall, stress is a public health concern. Some people are able to manage and decrease their stress levels, while others may find difficulty doing so. To help other professionals educate their patients on managing stress, Patricia shared some tips for practice.

Tips for Practice:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all protocol. Public health professionals offering and practicing strategic tips to help reduce stress can assist patients individually or in group settings, as well as oneself.
  • Offer patients a confidential place to release frustrations and feelings of being out of control. By understanding the situations and circumstances of the patient, public health educators can identify and even relate to the feelings, and can offer strategically stress-reduction tips that can best assist the patient if he/she is committed to releasing the stress. The AIS offers on their website self-assessments such as The Workplace Stress Survey and the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory which can be offered to patients or taken oneself.
  • Encourage patients to take a 5-minute time out—it’s enough to enter the relaxation stage. Continued research in various scientific and psychological journals are finding the best practices are deep breathing, meditation, Cognitive-Based Therapy, massage, yoga, and aroma therapy to name a few.

Visit SurroundHealth for the full article and stay tuned for a part 2, where we share specific community-based techniques!

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How Health Professionals Can Assess Effectiveness

When considering programs— from single educational sessions to an extensive intervention—health professionals are faced with assessing the effectiveness of these programs. In a recent SurroundHealth article by contributing member, Feon Cheng, we elaborated on the 6 major steps in evaluating program effectiveness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health.

Today, we are sharing the first 3 steps—you can learn about all six by reading the full article on SurroundHealth!

Step 1: Engage Stakeholders

  • Engaging stakeholders is an important first step to ensure all their concerns and values will be addressed in the program evaluation.
    • Stakeholders are individuals or organizations that may benefit from the outcomes of the program evaluation. There are both internal (e.g., Director of Nursing, Board Committee Members, Public Health Manager, and etc.) and external stakeholders (e.g., patients, customers, funders, and etc.).

 Step 2: Describe the Program

  • Revisiting the mission, vision, goals, or objectives of the program would be crucial in determining the evaluation strategy and approach in the next step.

Step 3: Focus the Evaluation Design

  • Determine the purpose of the program evaluation: this is based on the information gathered from step 1 and 2. What are your goals for this evaluation? Are there certain areas you would like to focus on?
  • Once the overall purpose of the program evaluation has been identified, there are a variety of measures to select from.
  • After the list of questions has been identified from each of the measures, the next step is to determine which approach would best address these questions.
  • The next step is to select an analytical approach, which is often dictated by the types of question and approach selected

For more details around each of these steps, plus the last 3, be sure to check out the full article on SurroundHealth today!

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Celebrating the 4th of July

SurroundHealth would like to wish everyone a very happy 4th of July! We hope that all of our members and readers who are celebrating have a safe, healthy, and fun weekend.

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3 Resources for Health Professionals to Support Older Adult Exercise

                In a recent SurroundHealth article, member and community contributor, Catherine Solie, CHES, ACSM HFS, stresses the importance of sharing educational health information with older adult patients. Solie explains that often times exercising is a difficult habit to adopt if they don’t have prior formal experience. To help health professionals find useful resources, she shared her top choices for community and online programs available to older adults.

Here are 3 off her list:

International Council on Active Aging Facilities and Services Locator

This website helps older adults and physicians find fitness and wellness facilities dedicated to serving 50-plus adults of different abilities. The locator identifies places (for example, a retirement community, hospital wellness center or health club) with structural design, equipment and staff that welcome older adults.


EnhanceFitness is one of the National Council on Aging’s Evidence Based Physical Activity Programs proven to produce measurable health benefits for older adults. It is an exercise program that helps older adults of all fitness levels become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. The program includes one hour group exercise classes that focus on dynamic cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance and flexibility. There are programs in several states, the list on the webpage above lists the locations of programs.

Arthritis Foundation’s Physical Activity Programs and Resources

The Arthritis Foundation’s Physical Activity Programs include Tai Chi, Aquatics and Exercise programs proven to help people with arthritis, common among older adults, live better by reducing pain and stiffness and increasing strength, flexibility and stamina. The ‘Find a Local Program’ option lists programs by location. If there is not a program in your area there are options to purchase workout DVDs.

For more resources, read the full article on SurroundHealth today!


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How healthcare extenders play a key role in stroke patient education

Healthcare extenders play key roles in many health scenarios—assessing, educating, and supporting patients to better manage their health. Many of these patients struggle with physical, cognitive, and emotional barriers, making the healthcare extender role all the more crucial. Member Chris Kelly, MEd, discusses how their role is crucial specifically for stroke patient education, in our latest article on SurroundHealth.

Health Literacy Assessment

According to a study and article published by Dr. Kalina Sanders et. al., entitled, “Assessing the impact of Health Literacy on Education Retention of Stroke Patients,” 59% of stroke patients had inadequate to marginal health literacy. In the SurroundHealth article, Kelly emphasizes how this finding further reinforces the importance of assessing for health literacy challenges following a stroke—especially when presenting post-stoke health education. In addition, healthcare extenders should assess for emotional/psychosocial barriers that could impact health literacy and quality of life for recovering patient (and their family members/caregivers).

Health Education Sessions

Health education sessions offered to stroke patients, like the ones conducted in the study, offer healthcare extenders the chance to assess patients while also educating them. Through assessment, the extender has an opportunity to create individualized plans, helping patients and caregivers to understand and manage emotional and psychosocial symptoms and barriers.

What’s your perspective?

For others who have provided health education, support, and services to adults recovering from a stroke—what are your perspectives and the methods you take in caring for stroke patients? We’d love to hear from you.

Visit us on SurroundHealth to read the full version of, “Empowering Stroke Patients Through Health Education.”

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4 Stages to Effectively Drive Behaviors with the Use of Health Communication

Health professionals are constantly seeking approaches to better communicate with their patients and clients with the intention of improving health behaviors. A recent SurroundHealth article by member and community contributor, Feon Cheng, RD, MPH, discusses the “Health Communication Program Cycle,” which focuses program developers on ensuring that health communication meets the needs of intended audiences and effectively drives intended behaviors.

Here are the first 2 stages…check out the full article to see all 4 stages!

Stage 1: Planning and Strategy Development

  • Define and learn about your audience
  • Identify the health issue, gaps, and potential solutions
  • Set communication goals and objectives

→Need tips for writing effective goals? Check these out.

  • Explore and select health communication settings and strategies

→  Learn more about using technology as a platform for health communication

  • Decide whether you want to collaborate with others on your effort
  • Develop and draft a communication plan

→   Here’s a template to help you get started

Stage 2: Developing and Pretesting

  • Explore existing materials and identify gaps

→  Where can you find ideas? Start with universities, health departments, and health professional organizations

  • Develop materials

→   A few things to consider:

      • Are your materials theoretically based?
      • Are your materials understandable for your audience? Here are some health literacy tools to help.
      • Are you materials culturally appropriate?
  • Test materials with your intended audience and revise accordingly

What comes next? Find out by visiting us on SurroundHealth today!

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