As it turned out, some patients really missed going to the Qi Gong and yoga classes.
Unity Care NW in Bellingham, Wash., offered the classes to encourage patients to integrate more movement and exercise into their daily lives. When COVID-19 restrictions made offering in-person classes impractical, the health center took to the internet airwaves. Staff members and volunteers presented some classes on Facebook live. They posted other videos to the center’s website and augmented an ever-increasing bevy of offerings on Unity Care’s own YouTube channel.
Among the most popular offerings are a video that tells children what to expect at a dental appointment, a patient describing his successful efforts to prevent diabetes, a doctor explaining how to improve cholesterol levels, and an entire series of videos about healthy eating by a dietician.
Tamara Tregoning, development officer at Unity Care, said the videos support the health center’s work in numerous ways. Patient education is a big focus, but beyond that, staff profiles prove to be good recruiting tools, prospective patients enjoy hearing other patients’ stories, and videos have been an effective donor outreach tool.
Mary Huselid currently works as a communication specialist at Unity, although she had little video experience when she started working there during the pandemic. Huselid said her first video efforts were difficult, but she has learned a great deal on the job and took a class, so the quality of her work has improved. “I feel really fortunate. People are pretty forgiving.”