Diabetes Strategy Yielding Improved Senior Health
Together on Diabetes–NYC—the community partnership developed by the Fund to help seniors manage their diabetes and reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations—is making a real difference, new data is showing. The seniors are feeling better, doing more to manage their illness, and are more confident about their ability to manage their diabetes.
Since its formal launch little more than a year and a half ago, the initiative—which links social service and other neighborhood resources with local health care providers, and is seen as a promising model for improving the health of other groups with chronic diseases—has enrolled more than 1,500 Washington Heights seniors diagnosed with diabetes.
The early results, based on the first 263 seniors to be reassessed since their initial evaluations, are very encouraging, says Fredda Vladeck, director of the Fund’s Aging in Place initiative. “Seniors are not just increasing critical activities like checking blood sugar levels daily. They’re also feeling empowered to ask their doctors about their care, and taking a more active role in it.”
Longer-term, what will be more telling will be the initiative’s impact on diabetes-related emergency department use and hospital admissions, notes Ms. Vladeck. Analysis of those patterns, and how they’re changing, is underway.
Funded by a three-year, $2.8 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Together on Diabetes–NYC brings together a broad range of partners, including community “anchor” Isabella Geriatric Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, four senior-serving organizations, home care agencies, and community physicians, as well as New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department for the Aging. The initiative’s services for enrolled seniors include diabetes education, exercise, cooking and nutrition classes, individual coaching, support groups, and podiatric screenings.
This feature story was originally published in the Spring 2014 issue of Blueprint.