WellFit Program Making Locals Better Versions of Themselves

Most of the time when someone visits a hospital, it’s a bad thing — because a person is sick or is having a medical emergency.

But the folks at the Wellness Center of Thibodaux Regional are attempting to change that.

They want to see people often throughout life, but not only at their low points, but at the high points of life.

They want to teach people the tools to living happy, healthy lives so that those bouts with sickness may never occur.

The Wellness Center is educating and assisting locals through WellFit — an 8-week program that is medically-integrated and creates an individual’s customized plan for improving  overall health and well-being.

To be part of the program, you must be referred by a physician. WellFit  can assist just about anyone in need with 12 different pathways including orthopaedic, cancer recovery, mental health, chronic pain, weight/lifestyle management, diabetes, functional fitness and others.

“Here, we call it getting upstream,” said Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN, Education and Training Coordinator.  “We want people to be the best that they can be throughout their lives. As a hospital, if a person is sick, it’s our job to give you quality care. But we also want to give people the opportunity to learn a wonderful new lifestyle so that you’re able to get well and can better avoid getting sick in the future.”

WellFit was launched in September 2018 and has since blossomed into something that all patients can use.

Since its launch, 250 participants have been enrolled and the results have been astonishing.

Richard said 89 percent of participants are able to increase their 6-minute walking distance over the course of the program.

Thirty percent of participants have lost more than 8 pounds in the 8 weeks, and 85 percent of participants were able to increase their quality of life scores.

“The stories that come out of it are amazing,” Richard said. “People tell us, ‘You know, I’d have never had the confidence to do what I’m doing right now, because I didn’t know how badly I was eating,’ or ‘I just didn’t know how to exercise.’ In this program, we give people the tools to succeed in their lifestyle. When the 8 weeks are over, we’re still available to them for ongoing coaching if they need it, but we want them to be able to go back home, take the things they’ve learned, and live healthy lives on their own.”

To enroll in the program, a patient must see a physician and be referred, but Richard said the process isn’t difficult, because physicians are now aware of WellFit and its successes and are happy to  refer their patients.

The program spans 8 weeks, during which participants have unlimited access to the Fitness Center. During the duration of WellFit, participants attend guided workout sessions two times a week for one hour. A fitness specialist is always on hand to make sure that workouts are done properly and that the patient is in a safe setting.

Once baseline information is obtained from the patient, medical experts are able to pinpoint areas where improvements are needed and work begins toward progress.

“We will do whatever we have to do to put that person in a position to lead a happier, healthier life,” Richard said. “If they are a smoker, we have ways we can easily align them with assistance to stop smoking. If someone is overweight, we will align them with a dietitian. If someone is preparing for surgery, we can help strengthen them before the operation so that recovery after the surgery can be so much faster. There’s just so many ways we can assist, and physicians are are very supportive of their patients being in this program.”

To learn more about WellFit or to inquire about how to seek a referral, call (985) 493-4765.



WellFit is just one component of a Wellness Center that’s done nothing but amazing things for our community since its inception, helping to positively touch the lives of literally thousands of locals.

Thibodaux Regional CEO Greg Stock has said multiple times that the Wellness Center has been an unquestioned success — a facility that’s exceeded lofty expectations.