Southwest General Receives Grant for Gatekeeper Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southwest General Receives Grant For Gatekeeper Program
Middleburg Heights, OH (Oct. 11, 2011) – Southwest General has received a $6,000 grant to help support its Gatekeeper Program, which offers assistance to older adults.
This is the seventh year the Credit First National Association and the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund have awarded the grant to Southwest General.
The Gatekeeper Program trains volunteers who have regular contact with the community, such as postal workers, police officers and firefighter/EMTs, to be aware of older adults who may need some assistance. The volunteers may notice mail or newspapers piled up outside the home or the home may be in disarray. A bank teller may notice unusual transactions. The Program helps isolated, at risk adults aged 60 and older who might benefit from physical, mental and/or social services. Once the senior is referred to the Gatekeeper Program, a registered nurse and a social worker pay an in-home visit to evaluate the client.
“The goal is to keep the person in their home, to live independently and safely,” says Dr. Deborah Borowske, director of community health, geriatrics, home health and hospice for Southwest General.
A registered nurse with a doctorate in nursing practice, Borowske says the client may just need transportation to medical appointments or to pick up medication. In other cases, the Gatekeeper Program will work with adult children and the client’s physician to provide more extensive care. The nurse/social worker team follows up with the client over the next three months to ensure the health and safety of the older adult.
According to Program Manager Donna Barrett, MSW, LSW, Gatekeeper began in 1997 as a multi-community project. Gatekeeper is an outgrowth of the Healthy Communities Initiative involving the six communities served by Southwest’s six taxing district—Berea, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Strongsville, Olmsted Falls and Columbia Station. The members formed a task force and learned that many seniors did not know how to access services. Gatekeeper is modeled after a similar program in Spokane, Wash.
The first client was referred by the Middleburg Heights Police Department. Volunteer training began in 1998.
Borowske said that in 2010, the program received 258 referrals, provided services to 172 adults and made 674 home visits. Additionally, they conducted 20 training sessions for volunteers.
Gatekeeper has made a difference for many adults, she says. As a result of the individualized care programs, the hospital saw a 53 percent reduction in hospital admissions and a 37 percent reduction in Emergency Department visits by Gatekeeper clients, who live in Southwest’s six primary communities plus Brunswick.
There is a growing need for Gatekeeper in this area, Borowske says. Nationwide, older adults make up 13 percent of the population. In Northeast Ohio, that average is 19 percent.
About Southwest General
Recognized as one of Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals®, Southwest General is a private, not-for-profit, 358-bed acute care facility located in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Founded in 1920, Southwest General is home to nationally recognized physicians with full access to state-of-the-art technology. Southwest General has a deep commitment to providing personalized care and building a healthy future for the patients, families and communities it serves. For news highlights, events and additional information, visit www.swgeneral.com or www.facebook.com/SWGeneral.