Westfield

Survey to identify health needs

Michael Suckau

Michael Suckau

WESTFIELD – The Health Department is preparing to mail residents a survey to identify medical and social service needs in the community.
Health Director Michael Suckau presented the draft survey to the Health Board members Wednesday for their review and suggestions to modify the formal.
“We’re sending this survey, which will be anonymous, to residents to see how people feel about the general health climate in the city. We’ll push it out to as many people as we can,” Suckau said.
“We’ll compile the data to determine accessibility to medical and social services,” Suckau said. “We’ll use the responses to gauge where we go in the future for programs and services.”
Suckau said that the department submitted a mini grant request to the state Department of Public Health.
“The bad news is that we were denied the grant,” Suckau said. “but the good news is that DPH was impressed with the grant proposal because we’re the only community doing this type of survey and said they will assist us by paying for postage and printing.”
Suckau said the department plans to “roll out in a couple of weeks” through random mailings and copies available at public venues such as the Health Department in City Hall, the Senior Center and Westfield Atheneaum. The survey will also be available to residents through the website¬† www.surveymonkey.com which, for a monthly fee of $25, automatically formats and compiles data from the responses. Suckau said the department will advertise availability of the survey in local media, as well.
The multi-page survey is broken into sections that deal with various aspects of public health, including public safety, housing, transportation, job training and other community facilities and services. The survey asks residents to provide a self assessment of their current state of health, levels of physical activity and diet, tobacco, alcohol and non-prescription drug consumption as well as demographic information such as gender, age, and occupation.
There are sections which deal with chronic diseases, illnesses and medical procedures which have occurred in the past 12 months, access to medical health care and the adequacy of that care, access to home health care services and social services as well as a general assessment of the community health care systems.
“It’s pretty comprehensive and because it is anonymous we hope to get pretty detailed and accurate responses,” Suckau said.

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