Streamlined method for addressing changes in condition among homebound older adults
Arlington, VA – December 22, 2021 – An app-based method for tracking and monitoring health conditions of homebound seniors has contributed to improved health and safety outcomes for Meals on Wheels clients. A multi-year, multi-phase research collaboration between Meals on Wheels America and the West Health Institute – a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to improve aging – studied the benefits of using mobile technology to monitor changes in the health conditions of homebound older adults as part of routine meal deliveries. Overall, 85% of the Meals on Wheels programs that participated in this study and adopted this monitoring process found they were able to help the seniors they served avoid a decline in their health or living conditions.
Meals on Wheels America and the West Health Institute partnered with the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research to begin this full research effort in 2016 with the More Than a Meal® Process Evaluation
, piloting a process for monitoring changes in physical, mental or environmental condition among Meals on Wheels recipients while using Accessible Solutions’ ServTracker®
Mobile Meals mobile application. The app enabled Meals on Wheels drivers to immediately send alerts of noticeable changes to program administrators via Mobile Meals while delivering meals; consistently track health and safety information; and quickly facilitate connections to additional supportive services as needed. This process was refined and scaled in the subsequent 18-month More Than a Meal Process Expansion
, and in total, 26 participating Meals on Wheels programs across 15 states adopted the app-based health monitoring process within their own operations. In addition to improved health outcomes, programs also found that daily communication between drivers and office staff was smoother and allowed for quicker follow-up.
“Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers see home-delivered meal clients on a consistent basis and get to know many of them personally. In fact, we’re often the only people that a homebound senior may see all day or week,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “This has long given us the ability to readily identify changes in a recipient’s appearance, demeanor or home environment that could be harmful to their health. By integrating this app-based health monitoring program into regular meal deliveries, Meals on Wheels can more seamlessly report and act on observed changes as appropriate, all while documenting a rich history of each client’s challenges and interventions to help them successfully age in place.”
“Identifying changes in a patient’s overall condition early can prevent a mild health or safety concern from snowballing into something more detrimental to a senior’s medical condition and costlier to the healthcare system,” said Zia Agha, Chief Medical Officer for West Health Institute. “This collaboration with Meals on Wheels America had demonstrated the power of using regular touchpoints in an older adult’s life as an opportunity to improve health and prevent worsening conditions.”
Findings from this full research effort were released today in a new report, prepared by Inceodia, that shares key learnings and recommendations: How Meals on Wheels America Systematized its Holistic Service Model to Address Clients’ Changes of Condition. The full report can be accessed here.
About Meals on Wheels America
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 hunger and isolation. 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. Through funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy, 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.
About Gary and Mary West Health Institute
The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is a 501(c)(3) medical research organization dedicated to helping seniors successfully age in place on their own terms. The Institute focuses on applied medical research and advocacy to advance home- and community-based healthcare delivery, services and supports that preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence.
About Accessible Solutions, Inc.
Accessible Solutions, Inc. (ASI) are the developers of data management software solutions for community service providers. For more than 25 years, their flagship product ServTracker, has helped hundreds of service providers and thousands of users throughout the United States and Canada. Their suite of cloud-based software applications and mobile apps provide a range of capabilities to automate operational processes, which makes business management easier, more efficient and less costly. ASI’s vision is to be the market leader in providing software solutions that simplify the process of capturing, scheduling, delivering, and reporting of services for people serving people. Learn more at www.accessiblesolutions.com.
Meals on Wheels America