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Meals on Wheels America to Expand Mobile App-Based Health and Safety Monitoring Program to Reach 40,000 Homebound Seniors Across Country


ARLINGTON, Va and SAN DIEGO, June 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Meals on Wheels America is expanding a successful research program showing how Meals on Wheels drivers can use a mobile app to alert care coordinators about observed changes in homebound meal clients' physical or mental health, social needs or home environment. The program ? developed with the West Health Institute and the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research ? will grow to include up to 30 Meals on Wheels sites across the country, helping ensure the wellness of an estimated 40,000 seniors.

Meals on Wheels' staff and volunteer drivers deliver meals and visit clients in their homes regularly. They may also be the only person some clients see in a given day. By setting up drivers who know their clients with this app-based monitoring program developed with nonprofit West Health, they are able to quickly and proactively notify Meals on Wheels care coordinators about any health or safety issues among their clients, facilitating connections with additional services and supports.

As part of Meals on Wheels' "more than just a meal" service model, staff and volunteer drivers deliver meals and visit clients in their homes regularly. They not only get to know their clients well through these visits; they may also be the only person some clients see in a given day. Collectively, this nutritious meal, friendly visit and routine check-in help address three of the biggest threats to successful aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence. By setting up drivers who know their clients with this app-based monitoring program, they are able to quickly and proactively notify Meals on Wheels care coordinators about any health or safety issues among their clients, facilitating connections with additional services and supports.

"When Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers are equipped with simple, yet effective screening tools while on their deliveries, they're better able to react to changing conditions in seniors' physical and mental state or environment before a particularly harmful health event occurs," said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. "This ability to respond in close to real-time can ultimately contribute to more agile coordination across medical and community-based service providers, improving outcomes and reducing costs."

The expansion of this app-based alert and response program includes the following Meals on Wheels locations, and will continue through 2020:

A pilot of the alert and response program at two sites ? Meals on Wheels San Diego County and Meals on Wheels Guernsey County, Ohio ? demonstrated that Meals on Wheels drivers can effectively use an app called "Mobile Meals," part of Accessible Solutions, Inc.'s ServTracker software, to send an alert to a care coordinator at the Meals on Wheels program about any changes in the health, safety or well-being of their home-delivered meal clients identified during a routine delivery. The care coordinator then responded by following up with the client to address their needs and refer them to appropriate health or social services as necessary. Within the two pilot sites, this alert and response program was tested across approximately 20 meal delivery routes serving nearly 900 clients.

"By collaborating with Meals on Wheels America, we've developed a safe, cost-effective and scalable program to preemptively identify and address concerns that too often result in deterioration of a senior's medical condition or pose a major safety risk," said Dr. Zia Agha, chief medical officer at West Health. "We're excited learnings from this research program are now being implemented across the country within Meals on Wheels America's expanded program that will positively impact as many seniors as possible."

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America's seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

 

Meals on Wheels America is expanding a successful research program developed with nonprofit West Health showing how Meals on Wheels drivers can use a mobile app to alert care coordinators about observed changes in homebound meal clients' physical or mental health, social needs or home environment. The program will grow to include up to 30 Meals on Wheels sites across the country, helping ensure the wellness of an estimated 40,000 seniors.

SOURCE West Health; Meals on Wheels America


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