Monthly nutrition, cooking classes
Each month FFHC offers different classes to help educate patients on lifestyle change. A recent activity included a cooking class led by a dietician to discuss the use of low sodium in meals.
The monthly healthy lifestyle activities began in August 2017 with a kick-off grocery store shopping trip. It was led by a dietician who walked down the aisles and taught patients how to properly read labels. After completion, patients received a gift card to use for their healthy purchase.
“Many [patients] have talked about how their blood pressure has come down—one even shared how she lost 10 pounds,” Dr. Meusa said. “They’ve definitely been more active and have been reading labels.”
By having additional resources available for lifestyle change, Dr. Martin-Engel feels patients remain happy and receptive because once they have started taking an antihypertensive medication they remain on it for life.
“This is one last chance for them to take measures into their own hands before having to start medication,” she said. “Sometimes we make promises and plans that end up being harder to stick to, but the fact is we have to give people the chance to make the right choices with their lifestyle.”
Commit to quit smoking
Out of their efforts with hypertension management, FFHC now offers weekly smoking cessation classes for patients.
The smoking cessation program is led by the clinic’s behavioral health counselor. In weekly meetings, the counselor speaks with patients about the challenges to behavior change and how anxieties can push them back into an old habit. This peer support group aims to hold patients accountable while giving them the motivation they might not have on their own.
“We’re working together with the patient, putting together resources not just for visiting the clinic, but to also come to our healthy lifestyle classes where we can talk about other things,” said Dr. Meusa. “[It’s about] letting the patient know we’re going to work with you—it’s a team effort.”
The Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge is a federal competition to identify clinicians, practices and health systems that have achieved a hypertension control rate of 70 percent or greater among their patients with hypertension and award them with recognition for their work. Learn about the 2017 Hypertension Control Champions.
Target: BP™ is a national initiative co-led by the American Heart Association and the AMA. In addition to direct access to trained field support specialists, a data platform and a suite of evidenced-based tools and resources offered by the AMA and the AHA, Target: BP offers annual, recurring recognition for all participating sites that achieve hypertension control rates of 70 percent or higher among their adult patient population year over year. Learn about the 300-plus organizations recognized by Target: BP.