In September 2019, LifeCare Alliance was awarded a 3-year $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living (ACL) to expand our innovative model of care. While this model has been piloted and in progress since June of 2018, the grant will allow us to increase internal case management and referral infrastructure, collect health outcome data to measure the effectiveness of LifeCare Alliance interventions, and complete a thorough evaluation of collected data. Once concluded, LifeCare Alliance will publish and disseminate the findings to seek reimbursement for our holistic, one-stop-shop service model. Ultimately, the goal is to produce research that will allow for replication of our model across the nation.
Certainly, agency volunteers, staff, and supporters know firsthand the incredible impact of our services, as they partner in serving clients 365 days a year; however, the ability to quantify the successful outcomes and results will pave the way for future sustainability, relevance, and leverage in the ever-changing healthcare industry. This innovative network of referrals and information sharing is for clients who frequently depend on emergency services for basic needs. This innovation is critical to ensuring that members of our community can age safely in place through a collaborative approach to care.
Meet Jerry and Marsha:
Jerry and Marsha, who live with the challenges of diabetes, were referred by their physician for an in-home consultation with LifeCare Alliance’s registered dietitian. The couple, 74 and 68 years old, respectively, deal with many health concerns that began about a year ago. During that time, Marsha suffered a collapsed lung during surgery. A month later, she tried the surgery again, but this time it was even worse—her organs began to shut down and her surgery was delayed again. During Marsha’s healing process, they learned that Jerry needed back surgery and a pacemaker. Because Jerry was Marsha’s only caregiver, this presented a challenge. That’s when Marsha contacted LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program to sign up for the frozen meal program.
“Meals-on-Wheels saved us,” said Marsha. “Jerry and I are both diabetic, and we learned we could have a registered dietitian come to our home to help with meal planning as clients of LifeCare Alliance, we both took advantage of the service. Now we know how to take control of our carbs and plan our meals with confidence.”
Jerry and Marsha are one story of many positive outcomes of Food 911: How Meals-on-Wheels Redefines Population Health. The impact of remaining together, independent, and in their own home—where they want to be—is significant, especially during this holiday season.
Meet the Faces of Innovation:
Molly Haroz, Director of Nutrition Programs, and Melinda Rowe, Wellness Services Director, are part of the incredible team at LifeCare Alliance that is implementing this innovative project. Understanding the challenges that many of our older adult neighbors face every day to maintain a healthy independent lifestyle, with dignity in the comfort of their own homes, the two directors have worked closely together to lay the groundwork that led to receiving the grant.
We know that the need is great! There are still many in our community—including older adults, medical professionals, first responders, and insurance and health systems—who are not yet aware of this innovative approach. We are eager to continue spreading the word to help intercept those who are managing chronic, or even crisis, health situations. During the pilot process, we have seen that the majority of these citizens call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room to receive help with food, home repairs, etc.—services which hospital or paramedics are unable to fulfill. LifeCare Alliance’s goal is to make sure that our neighbors in need do not slip through the cracks, as they navigate complex health situations. By partnering with local fire departments and healthcare providers to refer “frequent flyers” or repeat visitors for ongoing in-home services, we are able to welcome new clients through our comprehensive array of health and nutrition programming.
Randy Little, Fire Chief of the Jackson Township Fire Department in Grove City, Ohio said of the initiative, “we have seen anecdotally how valuable LifeCare Alliance’s services are to our township residents and we look forward to continuing to grow and enhance our partnership, especially since we’ve seen such improvements in the lives of those we have referred to LifeCare Alliance.”
Tim Hill, Regional Manager-Ohio East of American Health Network of Ohio, LLC, said, “our patients come to our providers repeatedly for the same types of injuries that could have been prevented with proper nutrition, homemaking help, or even simple home repairs such as grab bar installations. We have found that when needs are met, elderly patients often can function safely in their own homes without making multiple visits to our healthcare facilities on a weekly or monthly basis.”
Our heartfelt thanks to you, our supporters, who help make it possible for LifeCare Alliance to be innovative in meeting the needs of more than 30,000 clients each year. We look forward to sharing continued updates about the progress of this exciting project!