Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Verdant Health Commission 2016 Healthier Community Conference at the Lynnwood Convention Center. I wanted to share some of my take-aways, so buckle up!
First, we have such wonderful resources in our community to help people live healthier lives. Check out everything that the Verdant Health Commission offers: http://verdanthealth.org/ There is a wealth of information there, as well as a calendar of all of the free events that are offered. I also learned about Senior Services of Snohomish County (SSSC): http://www.sssc.org/index. They also have resources from all aspects of life (housing, social, transit, medical, etc) for seniors in our community.
I listened to a panel of providers discuss how to improve patient advocacy. First up was Dr. Blakeney of Edmonds Family Medicine. She discussed the importance of setting SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Change is a process, not a single event. Ever small changes can have huge impacts on your health. Example: walking 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week can reduce your blood pressure by 10 points—every 5 points it drops, your risk of stroke decreases by 34%!
The second speaker was Dr. Sinnett from Proliance Surgical Specialists of Edmonds. She spoke about how to manage your own advocacy when your health decisions become more complicated. She suggested that first and foremost, maintaining your health NOW can help minimize the complications during a medical emergency. For example, your tissues will heal better after an injury if your blood glucose has been managed beforehand and you’re not diabetic. She recommended that all carry a wallet summary of your health history, which could include your meds, your med history, and members of your care team. Her last point was to come to your appointments prepared—bring a second set of ears and bring a list of questions.
The final sessions I attended were about supporting those in need, how medical and social services are working together to improve care, and how to achieve health equity. There were great discussions in each session and I left feeling inspired by the things that are happening around us. My eyes were also open to how far we have to go though, too.
Here is one example of a program in our community that has come from partnership and passion: Move 60!
Please ask away if you have any questions for me about my experience. I would love to share more!