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KDMC bringing back health fair Thursday

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, King’s Daughters Medical Center(KDMC) will reinstitute its once-annual health fair. The theme forthe 2008 installment of the program is “New Year, New You.”

“It’s been a couple of years since we hosted the health fair,”said KDMC spokeswoman JoAnna Sproles. “This year, we wanted tobring it back as an offering to the community to bring in the newyear.”

Making the offering will be several departments within thehospital, the personnel of which will serve as the staff of theevent. Employees from departments such as radiology, physicaltherapy and the new sleep lab will set up tables in the hospital toprovide members of the community with information on specifictopics covered by their departments, and will even offer freescreenings to the public.

“We’ll be offering blood sugar tests, blood pressure tests andheart rate checks, to name a few,” Sproles said. “We’ll even beoffering weight checks – you’d be surprised at how many peoplehaven’t stepped on a scale in two or three years.”

Along with various free screenings, the health fair will alsofeature ample take-home information, such as diabetes awarenesspamphlets from the dietary department and information on volunteerservices, which will be provided by the King’s DaughtersFoundation.

Kim Bridge, RN, will also be on hand to administer fluvaccinations for $15 per shot – the only booth at the health fairthat requires a fee. Sproles said proceeds from the flu shots willgo back into the hospital, not for profit.

“A lot of people don’t realize it, but February was the biggesttime in our area for the flu in 2007,” Sproles said. “You maythink, ‘Well, I’ve made it through January without the flu, I’mpast the critical point.’ But it’s not over.”

Sproles said the flu vaccinations would continue as long asquantities last.

Sproles said the hospital has invited several businesses fromthe health care community, such as home health services, hospiceservices and several other health agencies, eight of which havecommitted to the health fair thus far.

Participating businesses have been urged to bring door prizes aswell. Visitors to the health fair can register with each businessand names will be drawn in the hospital gift shop toward the end ofthe event.

The freebies do not end there. The gift shop will also give awayone-day savings coupons, which are only good on the Thursday of thehealth fair. Purchases made at the gift shop eventually come backto serve the community.

“We decided to give away the coupons to make visitors aware ofthe gift shop because money spent there goes back into thehospital,” Sproles said. “It’s not used for office chairs andthings like that – the money goes to buy medical tools for use inthe departments, such as baby scales, pediatric breathing masks andlaptop computers for patient care.”

Sproles said all purchases made with gift shop funds are gearedtoward patient care. The $25,000 raised by the gift shop per yearis divided among the hospital departments by request duringquarterly meetings.

While the health fair is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. until 1p.m., Sproles said visitors may come and go as they please – thefair is not organized in a tour-like fashion.

“Visitors can come in and just walk through, spending as muchtime as they want,” she said. “You could be there as little as 30minutes if that’s what you want to do. It’s designed so thatvisitors can just wander and visit the tables that are of specificinterest to them.”

Sproles also explained the purpose of the health fair -awareness.

“The whole spirit of behind this is for the community to know weprovide free screenings, education and wellness programs throughoutthe year,” she said. “People can come to the hospital, even whenthey’re not sick or in need of health care, to experience thehospital and its staff in a positive way.”

Johnny Rainer, KDMC’s chief development officer, believes thathosting events like the health fair is part of the hospital’sduties.

“One of the things that just kinda’ of pops into my mind is themission statement for KDMC – to provide quality health and wellnessservices in a Christian environment,” he said. “Trying to docommunity type programs like the health fair are pretty good waysthat we can accomplish that goal.”

Rainer emphasized the importance of awareness for the health ofa community.

“If we look at the community, I think change begins when peoplehave an awareness that they have an issue that needs to beaddressed,” he said. “Hopefully, the health fair will be a pointwhere people can make some discoveries about their health status.Once you become aware of your health issues, you have choices abouthow you begin to go about addressing them. Everything kind ofbegins with awareness.”