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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Minuteman Senior Services

Learn how this Massachusetts AAA developed a smartphone app used by 700 volunteer drivers to record visible change in health and safety status while delivering meals; improve communication between care teams; and provide timely intervention for homebound older adult meal recipients.

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2020 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Minuteman Senior Services' Change of Condition Project. The agency was a 2020 Aging Innovations Award winner in the Nutrition category. The AIA Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Centene.
 
The Change of Condition (COC) Project is expanding and standardizing health and safety checks for the thousands of homebound older adults served by the Minuteman Senior Services Meals on Wheels (MOW) program. Through this proactive approach, 700 MOW drivers use a smartphone software application to record potential health and safety concerns they observe during their deliveries. The app sends an immediate report to a designated specialist at Minuteman so staff can follow up the same day.
 
The smartphone app was developed in partnership with YPoint Analytics and is compatible with the statewide case management database that Minuteman and its fellow local aging agencies are required to use. Volunteer feedback, such as suggestions to minimize left turns in the app's route optimization function, have improved app functionality. The app also creates reports on meal delivery, change of condition, observable symptoms and care manager notes.
 
“The COC Project is elevating the value of our volunteer Meals on Wheels drivers' impact on the well-being of our consumers and has created operational efficiencies throughout the organization,” Melissa Cull, Development Manager at Minuteman. “Our Meals on Wheels recipients have commented that they feel safer at home knowing someone is looking out for them and can get help with whatever needs arise, while our volunteer drivers appreciate that the COC app is paperless, user-friendly, has GPS, and sends COC notifications directly to Care Managers.”
 
As a result of the COC Project, homebound older adults receive faster follow-up care and have experienced a reduced decline and improved quality of life. In addition, COC will save Minuteman approximately 90 hours of staff time each year. The ability to capture more consistent observations of high-risk factors have led to safer situations for consumers and their communities.
 
“Before the COC app was implemented, communicating consumer concerns often involved multiple phone conversations between volunteers, site coordinators, program coordinators and care managers. Now the process is streamlined and reliable, which saves time for everyone involved,” said Jennifer Stiff, Nutrition Program Director at Minuteman.
 
When the pandemic arrived in March, nearly half of Minuteman Senior Services' 1,400 home-delivered meals consumers benefited from the expanded, standardized safety checks facilitated by the COC Project. While the continued rollout of the COC Project paused during the early stages of the pandemic, Minuteman Senior Services has used the time to train volunteers and anticipates resuming rollout across remaining dining areas in fall 2020.
 
Implementing COC requires purchase of the smartphone app (via the Google app store) and purchase of smartphones on which to use the app. Organizations should plan for staff and volunteer training. Minuteman also recommends creating a short-term COC Trainer staff position to support rollout of the program. 
 
To learn more about Minuteman Senior Services' Change of Condition Project, contact Kelly Magee Wright, K.MageeWright@MinutemanSenior.org.
 
For more information about the 2020 winners, see the press release and read the book of winners! To read about past winners and find other best practices for your agency to consider, visit our Best Practices page.

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