News From Your Neighbors, Neighbors Who Care, Inc. – March 2015

Eric Ehst, Executive Director

Imagine a loved one sent home from the hospital after surgery, weakened and confused, with no one there to help. She forgets to take her meds. She misses post-op appointments due to lack of transportation. She doesn’t get proper nutrition. And, like over 15 percent of seniors, she ends up back in the hospital.

Hospitals are under increasing pressure to discharge patients as soon as possible and more and more seniors with no family or support network and few financial resources are being sent home to basically fend for themselves as they heal from a major illness or surgery.

This actual note from one of our clients, Kay, shows the life-changing effect we can have for seniors recovering from a hospital stay.

“Thank you for coming to my rescue at a vulnerable time in my life. Time and again your patience, understanding, and gentle ways aided my recovery from spinal surgery. With no family closer than 1200 miles, you phoned to check on me, you took me to post-op appointments, you brought me meals. God bless you!”

For 20 years Neighbors Who Care has been helping people like Kay when we find them, but too many slip through. In 2014 NWC (Sun Lakes/south Chandler), About Care (Chandler/Gilbert), and the YMCA-OPAS program (Ahwatukee) created a partnership with Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Hospital on a first of its kind pilot program to identify at-risk seniors and provide managed post-discharge support in the Sun Lakes/Chandler/Gilbert/Ahwatukee area. We provide free care planning, volunteer services and follow-up for those seniors coming out of hospitals and rehab centers who need that extra bit of support and TLC to enable them to successfully recover at home.

It works! In the first year, even while creating the procedures, training the staff and working out the kinks, we helped 130 vulnerable seniors and, instead of 15 percent, we had a less than 1 percent relapse rate. The results were so spectacular that our small grant from the hospitals was renewed to help us grow the program and expand to additional medical facilities and rehab centers.

We’ve proven that a sustainable, volunteer-based solution works. Kay not only fully recovered, she got a new job and a whole new life. Now we need your help to spread the word to people who may need assistance and to help us recruit additional volunteers to meet the increased demand. Together we can bring this life-changing support to everyone who needs it.

As always, if you know of someone who needs our help or if you would like to experience the deep personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering to assist your neighbors, contact us at 480-895-7133;