The ability to live independently for as long as possible is something most of us
hope for as we age. For this to happen, older Americans need a safe, nurturing place
to call home, meaningful social connections to keep them engaged, and a sense of
dignity and control over their own health and wellbeing.
Founded in 1891, the VNA Care Network & Hospice (VNA) is one of the oldest and largest
providers of home health and hospice care for patients and families throughout eastern
and central Massachusetts. For more than 20 years, one of their most successful
outreach programs has been the Elder Health Clinic.
The Elder Health Clinic program is designed to help older adults stay independent
and healthy by providing health care and wellness programs that focus on prevention,
detection, education and follow-up. Its goal is to facilitate the early identification
of physical and emotional health concerns and to support healthy aging.
VNA partners with 45 organizations, including senior centers, elder housing sites,
faith-based communities and community centers, to provide local seniors a safe,
comfortable and convenient environment to discuss their physical, emotional and
psychosocial concerns. VNA’s nursing professionals offer free health screenings
and blood pressure monitoring, medication review and instruction, and health education
weekly or monthly at these neighborhood locations. They also provide seasonal flu,
pneumonia and other vaccines. Last year, 2,000 individuals participated in the program,
translating into more than 6,500 visits.
“The Elder Health Clinic program is making a measurable impact on the ability of
seniors to maintain their independence and avoid hospitalizations,” said Jane Woodbury,
RN, MS and Vice President of Fund Development for VNA Care Network & Hospice. “Last
year, 80% of program participants reported that they were able to better manage
their health problems as a result of their visits. We look forward to expanding
our reach so that we can provide these much-needed services to as many elders in
central and eastern Massachusetts as possible.”