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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: LifePath

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on LifePath's Rides for Health program in Greenfield, Massachusetts, winner in the Transportation and Mobility Category.

The Rides for Health program is supported by volunteer divers who offer door-through-door transportation to and from medical appointments to older adults and home care clients. Clients arrange their rides directly with volunteer drivers who are trained in sensitive and safe services. This system eliminates the need for a dispatch service, simplifying the process for clients.  
 
Lifepath knew that it needed a system like Rides for Health after a 2013 survey of state home care clients showed that clients were unable to access primary care, specialized care, mental health care, laboratory services and pharmacies because they simply didn't have accessible transportation options. LifePath also developed focus groups that echoed the need for transportation to medical care.
 
In 2013, the process began when Lifepath's program director researched national and international transportation programs, ultimately developing Rides for Health with help from an advisory group. The first client transportation as a result of the program took place in September 2015.
 
The successful program has made a difference in the community with volunteers providing 269 hours of service and logging 4,858 miles of travel. Rides for Health has enabled several clients to access evidence-based health care workshops such as A Matter of Balance, a falls prevention program and QuittersWin, a smoking cessation program.
 
The program has expanded since winning the n4a Aging Achievement Award and has received requests for information about how to replicate a similar program in other communities across Massachusetts. One development since the award win has been the implementation of a back-up system that volunteers can use to cover unexpected unavailability, to prevent the disruption of previously scheduled medical appointments.
 
To learn more about Rides for Health, contact Trevor Boeding, Program Director at LifePath at tboeding@lifepathma.org.
 
To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community! Now is also the time to nominate one of your agency's programs to win a 2019 AIA Award, so review the guidelines and consider nominating your agency's programs before the April 11 deadline.
 

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