HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, 2021 Community Benefit

Pandemic Habits: Has My Risk of Cancer Increased?

In 2020, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, like many hospitals across the nation, saw a decrease in the number of patients receiving colorectal cancer screenings. The COVID-19 pandemic changed our daily lives in a variety of ways and as a result, many of us developed unhealthy habits to cope with these changes. These issues presented an opportunity and thus, Pandemic Habits: Has My Risk of Cancer Increased? was created. 
The virtual panel event held on May 18, 2021, featured four HSHS health care professionals providing tangible takeaways to improve lifestyles while reducing risks for cancer. First, a clinical dietician and an occupational therapist spoke about how the habits formed during the pandemic may increase a person’s risk for colon cancer and how to develop new habits. A mental health counselor discussed the importance of reducing anxiety to aid in lowering one’s cancer risk. A medical oncologist shared the importance of colorectal cancer screenings because most individuals do not have symptoms at the onset of colon cancer. Lastly, an oncology counselor gave an overview and comparison between the current screening options (colonoscopy, Cologuard and fecal occult blood tests). 
To gauge the success of the virtual event, an evaluation survey was sent to attendees. Respondents provided the following feedback: 
100% rated the usefulness of the information to their lifestyle as “extremely” or “somewhat useful.” 
100% indicated that they gained information that they were unaware of prior to the program. 
100% indicated they plan to change something about their daily routine for better health. 
Chronic disease prevention was rated as one of the top six health needs identified in the 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment for the HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital service area.