United Way funds meals for recuperating seniors

 United Way of Indian River County announced that it will provide $5000 to keep seniors experiencing a health crisis from needing a hospital stay or nursing home placement.

The Senior Resource Association, (SRA), provides Emergency Meals on Wheels to seniors needing assistance. National statistics show that when Medicare beneficiaries are discharged after a hospital stay, 20% are readmitted within 30 days. However, SRA has found that of 581 Meals on Wheels clients served, those provided with a hot meal and a visit during the first 30 days after discharge were readmitted at a rate of only 7%. SRA is not currently funded at a level to support this recognized need and United Way has stepped up to help fill the gap.

“These are the kind of results we can support wholeheartedly,” explained Michael Kint, United Way CEO.  “Keeping patients out of the hospital, especially those on Medicare, strengthens the community at large in several ways as well as improving quality of life for the individuals themselves.”

Other benefits realized by the Emergency Meals on Wheels program include ensured nutritional intake, additional needs identified through the daily visit, and deferred nursing home placement.

“If a hot meal and a visit each day can help a person recuperate and keep them from relapsing, that’s a small effort for a great reward,” said Gerry Thistle, United Way Board Chair. “We get many requests for funding and have to evaluate each one carefully, this one passed the tests. We’re happy to help.”

United Way of Indian River County is encouraging people in the community to LIVE UNITED by donating to the annual campaign which concludes March 5, 2013, helping spread the word about programs and services that help people in need, and volunteering their time and talent to a local cause. For more information on how you can LIVE UNITED and help create a brighter future for those in need in our community, please call 772-567-8900 or visit our website www.unitedwayirc.org.

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