Regional wellness grant will target senior fall prevention

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Northborough – Selectmen March 23 voted to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the town of Hudson to receive the services of a grant-funded community health worker to help prevent at-home falls among the area’s senior population.

Health Agent Jamie Terry said after an initial grant award from the Metrowest Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund that helped build capacity, the two towns are now moving into the implementation phase.

State lawmakers established the $60 million Prevention and Wellness Fund in 2012 as part of healthcare cost-containment legislation. The fund released its first round of grants in 2014.

Terry said the fund allows work in four areas of preventive medicine: fall prevention, tobacco cessation, asthma treatment and hypertension.

For now, the local work will focus on fall prevention, with doctors at the Charles River Associates medical group working with the towns to identify patients at risk for falls at home.

At-risk patients will be eligible to receive a home visit from the outreach worker, who could recommend steps – such as installation of handrails and other safety equipment – that can also be funded through the grant.

Terry said the towns may expand the work in the future to tackle other preventive health topics covered by the grant funds.

Under the agreement, Hudson will hire the worker, who will split time between the two communities.