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Meeker Memorial Hospital bans tobacco, e-cigarettes on campus

LITCHFIELD — Meeker Memorial Hospital and Clinic is implementing a tobacco-free policy this week that covers the entire campus — not only the buildings but also the grounds and any vehicle parked on the grounds. The policy extends as well to electronic cigarettes.

The hospital has been a smoke-free building for more than 25 years. Broadening the policy to include the grounds was a long-term goal of the hospital’s wellness team to promote community health.

The policy is being implemented in conjunction with National Hospital Week this week.

It’s also part of a Strengthening Healthy Communities campaign by the Minnesota Hospital Association, encouraging hospitals across the state to get involved in community health initiatives.

Meeker Memorial Hospital received a grant in 2010 to form a workplace wellness team. Funding was channeled through the Meeker, McLeod and Sibley Healthy Communities Collaborative through the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program.

Several projects have been undertaken by the hospital to promote wellness. A hospital “Garden to Table” program provides fresh vegetables to staff and visitors in the Prairie Winds Cafe and to patients. A “Fit Choices 4 Life” menu and healthy catering is offered for community groups and staff.

Hospital employees have more opportunities to engage in fitness breaks during the day, including use of hospital exercise equipment and the grounds. More classes and community space are dedicated for Weight Watchers, TOPS, RSVP Bone Builders and other community health programs.

The hospital also now has a mother’s room to support lactating mothers who return to work.