The Port Authority of Bilbao has become the first company to put into practice among its employees the Basque Government Health Department’s Paziente Bizia-Paciente Activo (Active Patient) Programme.
The main aim of the programme – which does not intend to replace the role of the medical professional, but rather to complement it – is to teach persons with chronic illnesses and their carers, about their illness, and also about the habits and behaviour to help them achieve a better state of health.
This is how the Port Authority Chairman, Asier Atutxa, and the Autonomous Basque deputy Health Minister, Iñaki Berraondo, explained it in a press conference held this morning.
The programme is about educating in self-management of chronic illness based on the methodology of the University of Stanford, which Osakidetza (the Basque Health Service) has developed since 2014 in order to create its own methodology that is more adapted to the needs in our environment. Consequently, workshops have been set up aimed at either people who have a chronic condition, or carers looking after such people. All the groups are directed by two monitors, one suffering a chronic disease and the other a medical professional, who does not introduce himself/herself as such, but as a monitor so as not to break equality within the group. The workshops are carried out weekly in groups of between 8 and 15 members.
Present employees have taken part in the workshop carried out by the Port Authority – there will soon be workshops for retired workers – and have been educated in themes such as:
- Healthy eating.
- How to take appropriate physical exercise.
- Communication at work, personal and health levels.
- Emotional and stress management.
- Making action plans.
- The importance of adequate rest.
The programme is part of the Osakidetzaren Osasun Eskola, (Basque Health Service School for Health) a service that offers information and training for patients and carers with a view to them acquiring skills in their disease management so as to improve their life quality and encourage them to participate in taking decisions affecting their health.
At present, two types of workshops are held: “Taking active care of my health” and “Taking care of my diabetes”. Osakidetza is working on adapting this methodology to other diseases.
Portu Osasuntsua (Healthy Port)
In 2014 the Port Authority – which at present has 270 employees – signed the Luxembourg Declaration, thus committing itself to integrating the basic principles of promoting health in the workplace, to managing its employees’ health in addition to accomplishing its obligations with regard to risk prevention.
In the same year, the Portu Osasuntsua (Healthy Port in Basque) programme was set up with a view to successfully creating a work space to protect, promote and support the total physical, mental, social and cultural wellbeing of its employees. The programme involves all the people that make up the Port
Authority, and is based on the close collaboration between the Prevention and Human Resources Departments.
Portu Osasuntsua – which is part of the participation in the Active Patient Programme- comprises several different actions, campaigns, programmes and strategies aimed at covering deficiencies that have already been discovered in the organisation, or to improve situations the employees themselves request. All these activities are set out in four work routes, based on the WHO definition: the workplace’s physical environment; its psychosocial environment; company participation in the community (social-corporative responsibility); and personal health resources in the work space.
In recent years, the Port Authority has received two awards for its efforts. First was the three-star “Sello Gosasun” award – the highest honour this programme confers. It is an award promoted by Innobasque, the Basque Agency for Innovation. Then, at the II “Empresa Saludable” (Healthy Company) Awards, the most prestigious in Spain in this field, and organised by PSYA, ORH-Human Resources Observatory and e-saludable, the Port Authority was awarded with a special mention for the “Best Programme for Health Control”.
Then again, at the First Congress of the Spanish Network of Healthy Companies: a 360º vision of employees’ health organised by the Spanish Institute for Health and Safety in the Workplace (INSHT in Spanish), the Port Authority of Bilbao received a diploma in recognition of its good practices for promoting health in the workplace. It is the first and only company in the Basque Country to receive this award.
Finally, in February this year, the Portu Osasuntsua programme achieved the AENOR, (the Spanish Standards and Accreditation Association) accreditation for healthy companies. The award ceremony will take place at the Port Authority’s facilities in April.