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Hospitals as health educators

If you are looking for a trusted source of health education, look no further than your local hospital. From health videos to yoga classes, many hospitals offer information families need to stay healthy. You also may be able to find ways to save money on health supplies and services.

Classes and Programs

Many hospitals offer classes on various topics. They are taught by nurses, doctors, and other health educators. Classes may include:

  • Prenatal care and breastfeeding
  • Parenting
  • Baby sign language
  • Baby yoga or massage
  • Babysitting courses for teens
  • Exercise classes like yoga, tai chi, qigong, Zumba, Pilates, dance, or strength training
  • Weight-loss programs
  • Nutrition programs
  • Self-defense classes
  • Meditation classes
  • CPR courses

Classes range from $15 to $20 per session, or more.

You can also find support groups for people with diabetes, chronic pain, and other health issues. These are often free of charge.

Discounts

Many hospitals offer discounts to healthy activities in the area:

  • Biking, hiking, or walking tours
  • Museums
  • Fitness clubs
  • Farms
  • Festivals

Your hospital may offer discounts for:

  • Retail stores such as sporting goods, health food, and art stores
  • Acupuncture
  • Skin care
  • Eye care
  • Massage

Health Libraries and Brochures

Many hospitals have a free online health library. The information is reviewed by doctors, so you can trust it. You can find it on the hospital website, usually under "Health Information."

Ask your health care provider for brochures on topics of interest. The graphics and simple language can help you learn about options for your condition.

Lectures and Events

Many hospitals offer health fairs. Often the events cover:

  • Free blood pressure and other health screenings
  • Giveaways like stress balls
  • Health risk surveys

Your hospital may sponsor talks open to the public. You can get the latest on things such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer treatments.

Where to Find Information

Many hospitals have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts to share information with the public. Through these portals, you can:

  • See videos of inspiring patient stories
  • Learn about new treatments and procedures
  • Follow the latest research updates
  • Get information about upcoming health fairs, classes, and events
  • Sign up for health e-newsletters to get information sent to you via email

References

Eisenhauer WA, Smith AM. Health promotion, disease prevention, and patient education. In: Ballweg R, Sullivan EM, Brown D, Vetrosky DT, eds. Physician Assistant: A Guide to Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 19.

Review Date 7/22/2016

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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