CHH & Partners Putting Newest Community Assessment to Work for NWCT

(Torrington, CT) – Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and a coalition of community health providers and agencies have completed a second Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and are currently developing and implementing health initiatives with the data collected.

The most recent CHNA provides an overview of the social, economic, physical, and behavioral health of our region’s population. Assessment of the current health status of community residents, and the diverse factors that influence health, provides an important foundation for community stakeholders to identify: priorities for health improvement planning, existing community strengths and assets upon which to build, and areas for further collaboration and collective action. This Assessment is an update to the first-ever Community Health Needs Assessment in Northwest CT conducted in 2012. The original county-wide assessment was funded by a CDC Community Transformation Grant through the CT State Department of Public Health, Torrington Area Health District, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, United Way of Northwest CT, and the Northwest CT YMCA.

Both the 2012 and 2015 Community Health Needs Assessments for Northwest CT were prepared by the Center for Healthy Schools & Communities at EDUCATION CONNECTION.  Mary Bevan, MPH, Center Director, comments “Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and coalition partners are in the forefront of community health assessment and improvement planning in the state.  Their unified commitment to identifying health needs and disparities within the region, and collaborating to design and implement evidence-based strategies to address those needs is commendable.”

“As community health leaders we take this mission very seriously. We view this as not only a helpful tool but a mandate for action.” Added Brian Mattiello, Director of CHH Organizational Development.

The 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment concentrates, to the extent possible, on the primary service area of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, which includes these 13 communities: Barkhamsted, Bethlehem, Colebrook, Cornwall, Goshen, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Litchfield, Morris, Thomaston, Torrington, and Winchester (Winsted). This CHNA is also

informed by and aligned with the focus areas and key health indicators included in the most recent statewide health assessment, Healthy Connecticut 2020, and in the State Health Improvement Plan. The State Health Assessment and State Health Improvement Plan provide opportunities for organizations and agencies across Connecticut to focus and align dialogue around a common framework for improving health.

With the assistance of project advisors from the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Community Relations Committee, the coalition has been working on developing key programs and outreach activities based on the report findings. Some of those findings include:

Northwest CT as a region meets most national targets for health and has better health outcomes compared to many other states, for many indicators, such as obesity prevalence, teen birth rates, and health insurance coverage. Although health statistics indicate an overall healthy profile for the region and the state, disparities are apparent by age, sex, race, ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomics, highlighting areas and populations in need.

During the past decade, the state and region have both experienced improvements in maternal, infant, and child health, including significant declines in births to teen mothers. However, recent data for several NW CT towns reveal rates of smoking during pregnancy and preterm births are above the state average.

Chronic diseases are among the leading causes of death in the region and state, and they encompass many conditions that can be prevented or minimized. In the past decade, there has been a significant decline in certain risk factors, such as smoking in adolescents and adults, and increases in preventive screenings among adults. At the same time, there were increases in the prevalence of obesity, overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and asthma among adults.

Consistent with the state and nation, the region has experienced significant improvements in the treatment, survival, and quality of life of persons with HIV, as evidenced by a decline in the number of new HIV cases and deaths among persons with HIV. Substantial reductions in the incidence of infectious disease have been achieved largely through vaccines and advances in medication therapy, which have contributed to decreases in infectious disease deaths and increased life expectancy.

Connecticut and the Northwest region have also experienced an increase in emergency department visits for alcohol and other substance use disorders. Specifically, deaths due to overdoses of prescription pain killers and heroin have increased in the state and region. Mental health and substance use disorders affect individuals, families, and communities in complex and challenging ways.

The report also showed that unintentional injury is a leading cause of visits to emergency rooms in the state and region. Most causes of injury, disability, and injury-related death are preventable. In Connecticut, disparities by sex, age, race, ethnicity, or geography exist for death and premature death rates due to unintentional injury, and for traumatic brain injury, homicide, suicide, and sexual assault.

To view and print the entire 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment visit https://www.charlottehungerford.org/about-us/community-health-assessment/

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109 bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One Thousand Caregivers, One Job, Your Health. Visit www.charlottehungertford.org for information.

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