Did you know you can use your library card to check out a blood pressure monitoring kit?
February is Heart Month and OCLS is proud to partner with the American Heart Association and HCA Florida Healthcare in the Libraries With Heart program. OCLS card holders can check out blood pressure monitoring kits free of charge at nine library locations across Orange County: Eatonville, Hiawassee, Orlando Public Library, South Creek, South Trail, Southwest, Washington Park, Windermere and Winter Garden. Community members can attend any of 15 in-person programs offered at these branches during February. The programs, led by trained library staff, will teach simple, efficient ways to monitor blood pressure at home and give hands-on demonstrations with the monitors and cuffs.
“Supporting heart healthy habits through the Libraries with Heart program is a great addition to South Trail branch’s offerings,” said Branch Manager Carolyn McClendon. “Promoting heart health is an issue near and dear to me. My husband has a condition that requires him to regularly monitor his blood pressure. Teaching those skills and providing blood pressure monitoring kits to our community is an important service.”
OCLS’s outreach specialists will emphasize heart health during community outreach events in February, teaching community members how to properly take and monitor their blood pressure.
The program has already made a difference for one OCLS employee. South Trail youth program specialist Chris Hennessey was participating in a “train the trainer” event for the new program when he realized his blood pressure was high. “It was startling since I’m in generally good health,” said the 32-year-old Hennessey. “I spoke to my doctor and began monitoring my own blood pressure daily using a kit checked out from the branch. Catching it early was really important.”
With validated blood pressure monitors and cuffs provided by HCA Florida Healthcare and educational materials from the American Heart Association in both English and Spanish, OCLS is empowering people to monitor their own blood pressure, increasing access to blood pressure monitors and educating communities about heart-healthy habits.