St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP)
St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP) is designed to help individuals throughout the community live longer, healthier lives. In keeping with the St. Francis Healthcare System mission, the St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program is committed to “creating healthy communities in the Spirit of Christ’s healing ministry.” Its vision is to promote wellness and healthy lifestyles focusing on the whole person—body, mind and spirit—and to collaborate with other community agencies in bringing services and education to schools and the general public. The program is overseen by two registered nurses who serve as lifestyle coaches.
In the past 15 years, the program has served as many as 18 parishes. Services over the years have included home visitations, monitoring of the frail and homebound, monthly blood pressure screenings at the parishes, as well as the coordination of health fairs.
Addressing Emerging Public Health Issues
St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP) addresses important health issues in the community. According to a family physician for the University of Michigan Health System, the number of overweight or obese children in the United States has tripled since the 1960s, and up to 70 to 80 percent of these children will continue to be obese as adults. He predicts that this might be the first generation of children who will not outlive their parents because of problems related to overweight and obesity. The St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program has been teaching nutrition and diabetes education in elementary schools since 2005 to encourage youngsters to make healthy lifestyles changes.
An Array of Services
- Teaching hand washing and hygiene to elementary school children to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Teaching healthy lifestyle choices with a focus on nutrition and diabetes to elementary school children in both parochial and public schools.
- Collaborating with HMSA to promote breast health awareness.
- Collaborating with the Blood Bank of Hawaii in coordinating blood drives.
- Educating senior groups to be proactive in taking control of their health.
The Program’s Beginnings
St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP) originally began as the St. Francis Parish Nurse Program in 1993, bringing health services to parishes and their surrounding communities. The program’s goal was to promote health and wellness with a focus on empowering individuals to take an active role in maintaining their health and in the healing ministry of Christ. The name was later changed to St. Francis Parish Nurse/Community Outreach Program to better reflect its ministry of reaching out to the general community.
The program’s initial emphasis was to assist with establishing parish health ministries so parishioners, those with and without medical backgrounds, were able to reach out to those in need among them. Health Ministry Training was also developed to educate volunteers on topics such as wholistic health, home visitations, healthy lifestyles, death and dying, domestic violence, and child sex abuse. For 10 years, the program also provided a case manager and program manager at a low-moderate income housing complex, Kukui Gardens.
For more information, call the St. Francis Healthy Lifestyles Program at 547-6035.