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.
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.
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.
West Health is a family of non-profit 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 health care 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.
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves 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.
This was reported by Meals on Wheels America on June 5, 2019.
Contact information: Tim Ingersoll, Director of Communications, West Health Institute, 10350 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037; 858-412-8727; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.westhealth.org
Contact information: Colleen Psomas, Senior Communications Manager, Meals on Wheels America, 1550 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005, Arlington, Virginia 22202; 571-339-1634; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org