As part of SSC’s January 31st Panel discussion on The Changing Landscape of Aging Services, Gabrielle Chow, Director of Community Nutrition, ValleyCare Hospital System, spoke about a project to prove the value of home‐delivered meals in reducing hospital readmissions among patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). ValleyCare produces therapeutic diet meals for Meals On Wheels in Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, which are then delivered by Spectrum Community Services.
The project began with a grant that allowed for a CHF Coordinator to work with patients after discharge, an effort that yielded positive results but did nothing to change the dismal hospital readmission rate of the patients. Recognizing that low sodium diet plays a critical role in managing CHF, and that patients were overloaded with information at discharge, Gabrielle’s team added home delivered meals as an additional component to the project.
Patients were offered the chance to enroll in the meal plan. ValleyCare and Spectrum collaborated to deliver two meals a day for seven days for both the patient and spouse. ValleyCare pays for the first seven days and then Spectrum assesses patients’ for Meals On Wheels program eligibility (so far, 40% of the patients have stayed on beyond seven days). The initial results were startling: readmission rates for patients receiving meals decreased by 40%. Now, ValleyCare is planning to add more comprehensive data collection and expand the project beyond patients with the primary diagnosis of CHF.
ValleyCare’s experience is an example of an organization taking concrete steps to document the measurable health outcomes of a LTSS intervention – uncovering a “bottom line” outcome that hospitals and managed care plans will understand and can assign a value to.
For a report on the entire January 31st SSC Panel Discussion, click here.
To return to the Changing Landscape page, click here.