Studies show that encouraging wellness and self-care among this population is more effective than simply treating illness. A model of prevention and self-care can improve health and bring down health care costs for the most vulnerable members of our society: the elderly, the homeless, the mentally ill and the poor.
The new Nurse-Managed Wellness Program at VNASC, which is partially funded by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut’s Women and Girls’ Fund, does just that. This year we expanded our blood pressure screenings in some locations to become full-service Nurse-Managed Wellness Clinics. This means that in addition to regular screening activities, VNASC nurses, together with UConn nursing students, provide interventions and self-care activities for older adults that promote well and independent lifestyles.
The new clinics are located in high-rise housing complexes and senior centers, and focus on the health needs of the area’s most vulnerable populations. Each session provides a valuable block of uninterrupted time for our nurses to counsel clients and provide services that include health assessments and screenings, functional/safety assessments, exercise and increased mobility opportunities, brown bag medication reviews, nutrition education, access to community resources, and basic case management. Providing Individual Personal Health Records for each participant also helps nurses and patients to keep track of medications, health issues and goals.
High blood pressure, anemia, depression, addiction, mobility issues, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and foot sores are just a few of the health concerns patients have asked about. Our nurses do everything from sorting medications to scheduling doctor’s appointments to recommending grief counseling. They have begun building individual relationships and are encouraging patients to return each month for regular check-ups.
To find out where and when the Nurse-Managed Wellness Clinics take place, click here.