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Meals on Wheels Rowan makes plans to launch mobile app program

Staff report

Meals on Wheels America announced Wednesday it has selected its Rowan County affiliate to participate in a national effort designed to use a mobile app-based monitoring program.

The program enables home-delivered meal staff and volunteers to use a mobile app to raise alerts and act on changes in physical or mental health status or safety concerns. As many as 30 Meals on Wheels sites across the country will participate. The program will help ensure the wellness of an estimated 230 participants in Rowan County, a news release said.

Cindy Fink, executive director of Meals on Wheels Rowan, said the local nonprofit agency is excited to be selected for the program, called “More Than a Meal.”

“The information collected will enable us to provide outcomes data,” Fink said.

Program director Sandy Combs added: “We know that home-delivered meals make a difference in the life of a homebound senior, but now we will be able to collect the data that illustrates improved nutrition, reduced medical costs, better health, regained independence and healthy living.”

The initial investment in tablets and the mobile app will be about $1,000. Ongoing data connectivity during the pilot project will be $250 per month for the local agency. Fink said Meals on Wheel Rowan is seeking a donor to fund the project.

“When Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers are equipped with simple and effective screening tools while on their deliveries, they’re better able to react to changing conditions in seniors’ physical and mental state or environment before a particularly harmful health event occurs,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “This ability to respond in real-time can ultimately contribute to more agile coordination across medical and community-based service providers, improving outcomes, and reducing costs.”

Meals on Wheels Rowan provides nutritious meals to 230 homebound seniors and disabled residents Monday through Friday through deliveries by volunteers.

For more information, visit Meals on Wheels Rowan’s website at mowrowan.org.