United Hospital Fund

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A Community Control Project for Seniors

Location: New York City, New York

The United Hospital Fund (The Fund) is a New York-based nonprofit research and philanthropic organization devoted to improving healthcare for the people of New York City, particularly its underserved residents. This project sought to reach seniors diagnosed with diabetes within underserved neighborhood and link them to care to improve diabetes self-management and quality of life. Senior participants took part in weekly self-management education, support groups, individual coaching, cooking and nutrition classes, and social events for seniors with diabetes. By bringing together and drawing on the strengths of medical providers, community organizations, senior organizations, and seniors themselves, the Fund’s Together on Diabetes project provides a unique model of diabetes care for seniors that has been effective in engaging seniors in controlling their diabetes.

Context

The Fund sought to establish an integrated community diabetes control partnership among seniors diagnosed with diabetes, health care providers, and key community organizations both senior-serving (e.g., senior centers) and traditional (e.g., churches, libraries, beauty parlors). This project built upon the Fund’s extensive experience in facilitating connections between neighborhood clinics and community service organizations in naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs).

Action

Once the implementation community was selected, four community partner sites (Isabella Geriatric Center, ARC XVI Fort Washington, Inc., Riverstone Senior Life Services, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) delivered ToD-NYC’s core services and a TOD team consisting of a diabetes educator and onsite coordinators was established. Core elements of the intervention centered around diabetes self-management, social support, and referrals to care.

Learnings

Facilitating factors that appeared to have contributed to the program’s success included:
• Timely adjustment of recruitment strategies.
• Strategic engagement with key agencies to minimize policy barriers to participation.
• Establishing effective outreach and referral relationships with the right partners.
• Strategic marketing of services.
• Attracting third party payers with evidence of success.