I received a Certificate of Achievement for the pedometers walking program! My new goal is to walk, to walk and watch the diet with smaller portions. - EnhanceWellness Participant
Many programs claim to improve the health of older adults. Few, if any, can demonstrate real results. Developing programs like EnhanceWellness based on sound scientific evidence is critical.
From February 1995 to June 1996, researchers conducted a study of EnhanceWellness (formerly the Health Enhancement Program), which followed 201 disabled adults, aged 70 and older, to track improvements in their performance of activities of daily life (ADL). The results, later published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed that the program led to improved ADL functioning in those who were disabled and thereby offered a promising strategy for limiting or reversing functional decline in disabled older adults. Specifically, results showed:
- 72% decrease in hospital days
- 35% decrease in psychoactive drugs
- 11% decrease in depression
- 18% decrease in physical inactivity
Over 3,000 older adults with chronic conditions have participated in EnhanceWellness. Ongoing independent study results show that participants realized a significant decrease in depression and increase in physical activity.
Who can be trained to provide EnhanceWellness services at my site?
The original study protocol, which EnhanceWellness is based upon, used a nurse practitioner/social worker team. Currently, a nurse/social worker team is used whenever feasible. However, your organization can choose to use a health educator or other health promotion professional to provide EnhanceWellness services. This option has not been tested for efficacy, but we believe that it is most important to hire a person who believes in participant-directed care. Please see the Enact page
for more information on staff training. At a minimum, the staff who will provide EnhanceWellness services must attend the training. It is recommended that the program coordinator and/or manager also attend. (Limit 10 attendees per training.)
For how long do participants enroll in EnhanceWellness?
Services are provided for six months or longer, if requested by the participant.
What is the average caseload?
A staff working 8 hours/week could have a caseload of 50-55 participants a year.
What is WellWare?
Your EnhanceWellness staff will use WellWare®, a web-based software application, to track your participants' enrollment, visits, and progress in EnhanceWellness. With the information you enter into WellWare®, you will generate personalized health action plans and other reports. With WellWare you can:
What are the sources of referrals to EnhanceWellness?
- Track participant data, including demographic information, test results, etc.
- Enter notes for each encounter with a participant categorized by staff and visit type.
- Develop and print Health Action Plans for participants and Participant Progress Reports for their physicians.
- Add information on mentors, physicians, and health plans of EnhanceWellness participants
- Print reports, including site outcome results for a given time period, lists of participants by health plan, support group activity, and more.
Referrals come from physicians, site staff, other health and service providers, and self-referrals. Among the most effective referral sources are letters, signed by patients' physicians, recommending the program and providing the EnhanceWellness staff's phone number. If the patient doesn't contact the EnhanceWellness staff, the staff follows up with the patient to explain the program and determine interest.
What types of activities will my site need to offer as part of EnhanceWellness?
The EnhanceWellness staff will administer a health risk assessment from which the participant determines the health behavior that he or she would like to change. The participant decides what to work on, with whom, where, and how often. From this, the web-based program WellWare will generate an individualized Health Action Plan. The resources that should be available to participants who are pursuing their goals may include:
- Support groups covering topics (such as depression and caregiving) and workshops (such as chronic disease management).
- EnhanceFitness or other exercise programs for participants who are working on goals related to physical activity.
You may already have many of these resources in place. Project Enhance staff can offer suggestions on finding and creating new resources for your participants.