Library offers steps toward wellness – Blue Springs Examiner

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Among many things spurred by the pandemic, telehealth sessions have become more common, as people communicate remotely with their doctor or primary-care provider for normal checkups.  
To help people prepare for such sessions, or simply monitor their own health, the Mid-Continent Public Library is lending wellness kits as part of its “Access Wellness” initiative, funded by a state library grant that stemmed from last year’s American Rescue Plan, a pandemic-relief bill passed by Congress. 
The wellness kits, which can be checked out for two weeks at a time, consist of a blood pressure cuff, forehead thermometer, small digital scale and a pulse oximeter (placed on a finger to check pulse and blood oxygen level). They include instructions and information on free or low-cost health resources in the area. 
Bryan Gash, Mid-Continent’s chief technology officer, said the idea came from discussions with county health department, and once funding became available, “They helped us with what should go in them, and how to sanitize between each use.” 
“We thought, if people have these, what do they need if they’re talking to their doctor or health-care provider. It’s all around jumpstarting your health.” 
The library got 20 kits with the grant, and they’re available at 10 library branches, but like any library material can be routed to a different branch if requested. About half got checked out in the first week, Gash said. 
The Access Wellness initiative also includes classes on topics such as caring for mental health, nutrition and managing or preventing chronic illness. Programs can be found on the library’s website at mymcpl.org/Wellness.  
For those that borrow a wellness kit, Gash said they’re a natural complement to Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots that Mid-Continent offers to help patrons with internet access. 
“It’s still kind of a beta program,” Gash said. “We’ll see how it goes and how they get used.” 
To continue the program after the federal grant expires, Gash said, the library would need to secure additional funding or create some budget space. 

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