Many fitness facilities have tried to integrate a variety of health-related services under one roof. A physical therapist, for example, could have an office within a health club. Usually, however, these operations are self-contained sub-units within the physical space. Fitness equipment is often duplicated within each of these units, leading to parallel — not integrated — operations. LifeStyles, however, has achieved a true integration of services. It has brought together a variety of rehabilitation and prevention services and achieved economies of scale while providing members with unparalleled access to health and fitness programs.
The 55,000-square-foot Life-Styles is an integral part of the 198,000-square-foot Akron General Health and Wellness Center. Located in a western suburb of the Akron metropolitan area, the Wellness Center contains a wide range of services. These include the Women’s Center (devoted to health education for women), Reflections (a specialized facility for breast health), the Consumer Medical Resource Library, a restaurant, spa, conference center and 37,000 square feet of office space for physicians. Also provided are complete diagnostic programs and facilities for sports medicine, physical therapy, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and outpatient surgery. What makes the Wellness Center unique is that all of these facilities utilize the same staff and fitness equipment. Rather than putting independent services side by side, everyone uses the resources of the LifeStyles and benefits from the same team of specialized experts. The end result is a highly successful and profitable facility that gives new meaning to the term comprehensive care.
This combination of services has provided a continuum of care that benefits members and management alike. Usually, once hospital patients finish their reimbursable therapy, they are on their own. There is no connection with the health maintenance and disease prevention programs that can keep patients healthy in the long term.
“At LifeStyles, members continue to receive services from the staff that helped them get well in the first place,” notes Douglas Ribley, director of fitness and wellness for Akron General. “Also, if a member develops muscular or skeletal problems while at LifeStyles, physical therapists and other professionals are here to help.”
This has proven to be an important benefit for members, the majority of whom had never before belonged to a health club. With an average age of 49, many members had been sedentary for more than half of their lives. In fact, some 60 percent of the center’s membership is considered to be “high risk” and suffers from high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, or other joint and muscular/skeletal problems. These individuals are usually more comfortable exercising at a medically supervised facility, and many even had their babies at Akron General or had gone there when they were sick. They welcome the opportunity to continue their association with the hospital, finding value in the LifeStyles’ service and its focus on safety and cleanliness. The use of shared space, equipment and personnel has enabled the facility to deliver a high-end product at an affordable price.
Tags: care, exercise, services