Senior Center Program Cuts Hospitalization Rates
A pilot project was recently launched in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as part of a goal to reduce hospitalization of senior citizens. This program used senior community centers and focused on educating seniors about healthcare and how to take in-home precautions. Participants were taught how to keep a personal health record of medications and doctor’s appointments, about the importance of monitoring blood sugar for diabetes and the importance of a healthy diet and exercise.
The program in Tuscaloosa has been surprisingly successful and has reduced hospitalizations of seniors by over 8% as compared to other counties without similar information programs. Approximately 600 less people were hospitalized following the program as compared to before. This information has saved almost $33 million in Medicare costs in the West Alabama area alone! This study is proof of the fact that information is one of the most important healthcare tools. Being informed and proactive is the best defense for seniors against debilitating injury or illness.
Alabama was not the only state that participated in this pilot program. Of the other 14 communities, an average of 5.7% decline in senior hospitalizations occurred. The findings of the program were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Hopefully programs like this one will spread across the nation to provide more accessible information to seniors. Take charge of your health, be informed!