Spotlight - January 2008
An eighty-two-year-old Harwich woman is discharged from Cape Cod Hospital’s Emergency Room. She has no way home. No family or friends able to help. No money for a taxi to the Lower Cape. Too frail to face the challenge public transportation can be for the elderly.
Reaching Elders with Additional Community Help (REACH) is a program of the Cape & Islands Emergency Medical Services (CIEMS) that reaches out to older adults finding themselves in this situation. Through a partnership with the Cape Cod Hospital, Emergency Center social workers are able to connect through REACH to a volunteer from the elder’s own local Council on Aging (COA).
The Council on Aging works with REACH to train volunteers willing to assist by providing a ride home from the hospital, picking up prescriptions, and getting the person “squared away” once home by walking him or her inside and checking to see if he or she needs anything, maybe even getting a cup of tea or making a sandwich.
The eighty-two-year-old woman from Harwich mentioned earlier needed her prescriptions picked up. The volunteer noticed that one of the prescriptions was for a breathing device that was new and unfamiliar to the woman. The volunteer alerted the REACH coordinator. REACH, together with its COA partner, was then able to get a retired RN volunteer to assist the Harwich resident in understanding the correct way to fill and use the new device to enable better breathing. This assistance very likely prevented a return visit later that night to the emergency room.
REACH not only connects volunteer and community resources with those who need them but it also builds coalitions and strengthens collaborations among Cape community service providers.
To volunteer for REACH, please contact 508-771-4510 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.