Meals on Wheels Rowan

Meals on Wheels America has selected Meals on Wheels Rowan to participate in More Than A Meal, a national effort designed to utilize a mobile app-based monitoring program to help support the health, safety and social needs of home-delivered meal participants.

The program – developed with Meals on Wheels America, the West Health Institute and the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research – enables home delivered meal staff and volunteers to use a mobile app to raise alerts and act upon changes in physical or mental health status or safety concerns. Up to 30 Meals on Wheels sites across the country will participate in this effort, helping ensure the wellness of an estimated 230 participants in Rowan County and 40,000 seniors nationwide.

“We are excited to be selected for the “More Than A Meal” project. The information collected will enable us to provide outcomes data,” Local Executive Director Cindy Fink said.

Program Director Sandy Combs added, “we know that home-delivered meals make a difference in the life of a homebound senior, but now we will be able to collect the data that illustrates improved nutrition, reduced medical costs, better health, regained independence, and healthy living.”

As one of the selected agencies, Meals on Wheels Rowan staff and volunteers will receive More Than A Meal training, technology support and toolkits.

The initial investment in tablets and the mobile app will be approximately $1,000. Ongoing data connectivity during the pilot project will be $250 per month for the local agency.

“We are still seeking a grantor or donor to fund this project and counting on the outcome data to illustrate the impact of home-delivered meals and to solidify our case for future grant funding,” Fink said.

According to Meals on Wheels staff, a volunteer driver may be the only person a homebound client sees in a given day and is often the first person to observe changes in health conditions or see safety issues in or around the homes of participants.

Through this research program, a select number of volunteers will be equipped with “Mobile Meals” – a mobile app that is part of Accessible Solutions, Inc.’s ServTracker software. The Meals on Wheels Rowan care coordinator who receives these alerts will immediately follow up with the participant. The care coordinator can report any concerns to caregivers or healthcare providers. Staff may also refer the participant to additional healthcare programs, transportation services, or other senior services.

“When Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers are equipped with simple and 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 realtime can ultimately contribute to more agile coordination across medical and community-based service providers, improving outcomes, and reducing costs.”

About Meals on Wheels Rowan

Meals on Wheels Rowan is a 501-C (3) Non-Profit that has been serving homebound seniors in Rowan County since 1976. Meals on Wheels Rowan provides nutritious meals delivered by volunteers who offer a friendly greeting and provide an informal safety check to 230 homebound seniors and disabled citizens each Monday – Friday. It is committed to a philosophy of serving quality food and growing purposefully in participation and service. Its services will be provided for as long as the participant is homebound, in need of nutritious meals and able to safely age in the place of their choosing.

For more information, visit our website at www.mowrowan.org.

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.

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