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Bringing Care Directly to Seniors

February 16, 2024

The Rose City Senior Center is where older residents of Norwich come for bingo, yoga and lunch with friends. Now, they can also get health screenings and help finding a provider for regular care.

The new addition to the senior center’s robust schedule is courtesy of a partnership between the city and Hartford HealthCare Community Health, which is tapping community development block grant (CDBG) monies to fund a nurse.

Focused on the health of Norwich’s senior population, Barbara Boiselle, LPN, started in mid-January, setting up shop at the City Senior Center two days a week to offer screenings and educational programming. She will also stage healthcare screenings, events and programs for seniors at senior housing complexes, food pantries and churches throughout the city.

“I am embedded within the elderly population in Norwich,” Boiselle explains, noting that if she identifies health issues, she will connect the person with their primary care doctor or help them find a provider.

Kate Milde, MS, director of Norwich Human Services, envisioned the service when unused COVID funds were incorporated into the city’s CDBG program.

“I saw an opportunity to remodel and staff our underutilized Senior Clinic space,” she says. “With this partnership, we can better ensure Norwich seniors are receiving a continuum of care they would not get in a typical healthcare setting.”

Community Health Director Joseph Zuzel worked with Milde on the program, and notes that having a nurse in spaces where at-risk senior citizens live and spend time is the culmination of work by HHC’s Community Health.

“We’ve been working on creating partnerships and collaborations,” he says. “To see a provider deep in the community and accessible to seniors gives us a sense of accomplishment. But this kind of work is only possible through the ongoing wonderful partnership we have with the city.”

It’s a tremendous benefit to the entire city, Milde says.

“We will provide better access to screenings needed to detect chronic diseases and monitor chronic conditions. We will provide disease-specific education and programming to help seniors manage their conditions and advocate for their healthcare,” she says.

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