■ BY DALY WALKER, MD, BOCA GRANDE HEALTH CLINIC
The Boca Grande Health Clinic’s mission is to meet the primary healthcare needs of the residents, workers and visitors in the Gasparilla Island community. Contemporary primary care practices such as ours no longer confine their activities to the management of chronic diseases and the treatment of acute medical problems. Rather, they are active in preventive medicine and wellness programs to stave off illnesses and accidents before they occur.
Therefore, in order to execute our mission to its fullest, the Clinic is embarking on it own wellness initiative with the intent of improving the quality of life of the patients we serve.
The term “wellness” has been applied in many ways, and you may be wondering what exactly wellness means to us. We define it as an active process, in which people make choices and changes that result in a healthier existence.
Already, the Clinic provides significant wellness and preventive medicine services to its patients. These include immunizations, annual physicals and screening for certain diseases. But there is much more that we can do. The new wellness initiative will be multidimensional and holistic, with its main thrust being patient education. Lecture series, classes and individual consultations will address medical problems we have identified in our patient population by surveys and reviews of medical records. These include falls, memory loss, obesity, hyperlipidemia, smoking addiction, alcohol abuse, type 2 diabetes and lack of fitness, to name a few. The program will be overseen by our medical staff and a wellness director. It will be headquartered in the Clinic Annex.
You might be asking if it will be worth the effort that the Clinic staff and its patients will have to exert for a wellness program to be successful. We believe the answer is yes. Prospective, randomized scientific studies evaluating the benefits of wellness programs have shown clear positive health and financial benefits as a result of these initiatives. Participants in wellness programs have been proven to have fewer hospitalizations, to experience less depression, to have an improvement in their ability to be physically active and to live longer — all at monetary savings to the healthcare system. We are confident that this will be true for the Boca Grande community once our program is established.
We want our wellness program to be shaped by the medical needs and desires of our patients. Therefore, a survey from the Clinic will soon appear in your mailbox. We will appreciate your responses and will fold your ideas into our program’s design.
Good health is a destination, and wellness is the journey toward it. It is the intent of the Boca Grande Health Clinic to serve as a guide for the Island’s population in their quest of a healthier, longer and happier life.
This article was submitted by Daly Walker, MD, chairman of the board of the Boca Grande Health Clinic