GNYHA’s Wellness Workgroup recently discussed using alternative pain management strategies on patients and how such methods could be adapted for the hospital workforce. Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability for US adults, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also notes that 20% of all adults in the US suffer from chronic pain.

Stony Brook University School of Nursing Associate Dean for Research and Innovations Patricia Bruckenthal, PhD, discussed the relevance of alternative pain management for the hospital workforce, including how she and her colleagues integrated pain-coping skills into their work with patients. She also explored how similar approaches could be integrated into programs for hospital employees. The Wellness Workgroup also discussed teaching pain-coping techniques to staff who already interact with the workforce—including occupational health staff, lifestyle and condition management coaches, and Employee Assistance Program providers—and how stress management programming, including yoga and meditation, can be adapted to include pain management techniques.

Design and implementation of onsite fitness centers was also discussed, led by representatives from Montefiore Medical Center, who have conducted extensive research on this topic. Discussions centered on experiences of creating, maintaining, and marketing onsite facilities. While the benefits of onsite facilities are well-documented and include increases in physical activity and productivity, the challenges of operating such fitness centers in the New York region include space and cost.