LifeCare Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that provides a comprehensive array of health and nutrition services to residents of Central Ohio. LifeCare Alliance's mission is to lead our community in identifying and delivering health and nutrition services to meet the community's changing needs. Founded in 1898 as the Instructive District Nursing Association (IDNA), LifeCare Alliance was Columbus' first in-home health care agency and Ohio's first Visiting Nurse Association, services we proudly continue today.
Through the vision of Catherine Nelson Black, wife of Samuel Black, a judge and mayor of the City of Columbus, the IDNA became Ohio's first home healthcare program, organized in 1898 to bring medical care and health education to the homes of the sick, poor and immigrant populations - those with high infant mortality rates. Mrs. Black noted that she wanted to establish an organization that would care for the people that no one else gave any attention. We still care for those individuals today.
Senior citizen nursing clinics, now known as our Wellness Centers, were established in 1969 in senior housing areas. Catherine Nelson Black's vision, expanded in 1973, when the organization, then named the Community Health and Nursing Service (CHNS), started a food production kitchen at Bradford Commons at The Ohio State University. This program, the Nutrition Involving Community Elderly (NICE), was the second such food delivery program in the United States, and the start of our current Meals-on-Wheels and dining center programs. Two years later, in 1975, the homemaker program, now known as Help-at-Home, was established.
In 1987, the agency name was again changed to LifeCare Alliance to demonstrate the agency's expertise in care for people through old age by an alliance of health care professionals, volunteers, and programs designed to promote independent living.
LifeCare Alliance continues to grow and change to serve the community through expanding nursing clinics, introduction of ethnic, frozen, and vegetarian meals, and congregate sites designed to attract our growing and diverse senior populations. Additionally, LifeCare Alliance began delivery of after-school and daycare meals in 2001 for children age three through twelve. In 2002, LifeCare Alliance opened a health care clinic to serve the area's Hispanic population, and began The Cardinal Health Visiting Pharmacist Program to provide medication assistance to homebound seniors.
In 2003, LifeCare Alliance launched two social entrepreneurial programs; The Catch the Wellness Spirit Corporate Wellness Program and LA Catering. Our Corporate Wellness Program attacks the rising cost of health insurance by placing a LifeCare Alliance dietitian and nurse at a corporate location to work with the firm's employees and reduce large claims. This is also a mission driven program, designed to reduce the number of seniors requiring our servicing in years to come. Corporate Wellness clients include Grange Insurance, Porter Wright Morris and Arthur, and Highlights for Children.
L. A. Catering, another social entrepreneurship effort of LifeCare Alliance, provides catering services to hundreds of Central Ohio clients, while allowing our Meals-on-Wheels production staff a creative way to present their considerable talents. The profits from LA Catering allow LifeCare Alliance to serve additional clients who do not have a specific funding source.
LifeCare Alliance has emerged as a national leader in merger collaborations, having successfully completed five in the last ten years with Meals-on-Wheels of Madison and Marion Counties (2003 & 2013), Project OpenHand-Columbus (2004), the Columbus Cancer Clinic (2005) and IMPACT Safety (2011). These mergers have eliminated or reduced costs and the redundancy of services in Central Ohio, resulting in more funds for programs, enhanced services and an increase in client access to basic needs.