Take charge of your health

Pat Kiefer has attended so many Schneck Live Well Expos throughout the years, she cannot even estimate how many.

On Saturday morning, the Seymour woman was one of many to take part in the hospital’s 34th annual Live Well Expo that featured 66 booths of resources in the gymnasium at Seymour High School.

Booths covered a variety of topics from preventative screenings to healthy foods residents can purchase from local farms.

Kiefer said she collects much of the information at the event and tries to use the resources in her daily routine.

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“I think all the literature they have in the different booths is helpful,” she said. “I try to apply it to what I do each day.”

That’s exactly what Natalie Harpe, events coordinator at Schneck, and the rest of the staff at Schneck Medical Center wants to hear as people leave the event.

“I think a lot of people are taking charge of their own health and being responsible and proactive,” she said. “Schneck’s commitment to our communities is to make sure we are doing our best to keep them healthy.”

Warren Forgey, CEO and president of Schneck, echoed that sentiment and said it was a great way for Schneck to serve the community.

“It’s a great turnout and it’s a great opportunity for us to work toward our mission to improve the health of the communities that we serve,” he said. “It’s also a great opportunity for those in the community to see what we offer.”

Forgey said he feels it’s the hospital’s obligation to share information with the community about how people can improve their health and how Schneck can help.

“With the expertise that we have at Schneck we should be able to provide education and knowledge to community members to improve their health care,” he said.

Harpe said the blood test is a popular screening the expo offers because of its significantly discounted price. She said many consider the test to be a staple of the event.

“It’s $35 here for what would normally cost them around $400,” she said. Nearly 500 people took advantage of the savings during last year’s event, she added.

Kiefer was one of those people.

“I come here each year and I like to come for the blood draw,” she said as she made her way through the first aisle of booths. “That’s something I’m doing today.”

Bob McElhany said he and his wife normally come for the blood work profile as well.

“We normally come for that,” he said. “I already had some done this week, but my wife is having hers done now.”

Other screenings available on site were spinal health, oral cancer, bone density, hydration, glucose testing and even proper shoe fitting.

Harpe said screenings, such as the oral cancer screening, could be very important for those who may not have access to such kinds of tests.

“I know many dentists do those in their annual exams, but if someone doesn’t think to ask or if they don’t have insurance, that could be huge for them to take advantage of this,” she said.

The event added several new booths this year including one to recycle expired car seats, Seymour Police Department prescription drug collection and prostate screenings for men.

Registered nurse Chris Hughes was set up at the health fair to collect old car seats.

Many people do not know that car seats expire, Hughes said. Most car seats have an expiration date on the label and are good for six years, she added.

“The technology that we have now compared to what we had six years ago is pretty crazy,” she said. Technological advances have led to an array of safety improvements throughout the years, she added.

Most people do not consider how their environment can deteriorate a car seat’s condition.

“Here in Indiana, just in the last two months, think about what our weather has been like and think about where your car seat is all the time,” she said. “It’s in your car, all day every day, and structurally, that does damage to plastic over a long period of time with temperatures being high and then low again.”

Hughes said car seat harnesses also are affected by the usual wear-and-tear from everyday use.

Schneck has offered a car seat program for over a decade but many people aren’t aware of it or that the hospital recently started the car seat recycling program. The hospital breaks down the car seats and takes them to Indianapolis to be recycled.

Hughes is also available by appointment to check car seats for recalls, expiration and proper installation and to discuss with parents how children should fit in them and what car seat to use as children grow.

Harpe said the health expo seems to grow each year and Schneck is proud to have sponsored the event for so long.

“I think it’s important because we really try to have a presence in the community and try to be there for community members,” she said. “We see the need and we really try to answer that need for people who are taking that step toward better health.”

For McElhany and many others, the event is something they take advantage of each year.

“There’s always a variety of booths to get your questions answered,” he said. “It’s very helpful.”