Baltimore—(December 7, 2017)—Along with a hot meal, fruit and milk, volunteers from the Maryland Chapter of Meals on Wheels are now visiting homebound patients, armed with an iPad. In a newly formed partnership with MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, volunteers for the non-profit food delivery program use the tablet to transmit updates on recently discharged patients to the hospital’s Center for Successful Aging. The initiative has cut hospital readmissions for those patients to nearly half.
“The Meals on Wheels representatives make routine stops to visit confined people who have limited food supplies, but the same people frequently suffer from chronic medical conditions, especially diabetes. They often are at risk for social isolation and depression, and have functional limitations,” said George Hennawi, MD, director of the department of geriatrics at MedStar Good Samaritan. “Providing a holistic approach is key.”
Using a questionnaire developed by MedStar Health geriatric experts, the Meals on Wheels representative can input responses into the Ipad and transmit the data to the hospital, where clinicians can determine if the patient needs to be seen.
“Keeping our patients healthy and out of the hospital after they’ve been discharged is a top priority,” said Dr. Hennawi. “Meals on Wheels is a vital partner in that effort, and we hope to keep expanding our community partnerships in the future because we believe senior health is a group effort. The best way to care for older adults is understanding their environment and their community and tailoring the services based on those individualized needs.”
The Meals on Wheels partnership is part of a larger effort by the Center for Successful Aging at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital to use technology to reach patients. The center has been reaching out to community centers and churches to build more partnerships to reach more discharged patients to keep them healthy and out of the hospital.
“At Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland we have seen first-hand how health literacy, poor nutrition, social isolation, and housing, concerns often attributed to poverty, can negatively impact health for our aging neighbors,” said Stephanie Archer-Smith, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, Inc. “We have also witnessed how quickly that trajectory can be altered when you combine good healthcare with proper nutrition, personal interaction, and shared communication. For a fraction of what it costs to hospitalize someone, we can provide services that will not only keep them out of the hospital but will improve their overall quality of life. We believe our seniors are worth the investment.”
The Center for Successful Aging and Meals on Wheels expect the program will lead to fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, better nutrition, improved medication compliance and increased health literacy.
For more information on the Center for Successful Aging, call: 443-444-4100.
About MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital is a 287-bed community teaching facility located at the corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Belvedere Avenue in northeast Baltimore, with more than 130,000 patient visits annually. With Centers of Excellence in orthopaedics, rheumatology, rehabilitation, burn reconstruction, and renal care, as well as a certified Stroke Center and winner of the Delmarva Foundation Excellence Award for Quality Improvement for four years in a row, MedStar Good Samaritan serves people throughout Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic and internationally in these advanced specialties. MedStar Good Samaritan is part of MedStar Health, a not-for-profit, regional healthcare system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region.