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Service Coordinators are Unsung First Responders in Fight Against COVID-19

DAYTON, Ohio, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Mary Development Corporation is a member of the Ohio Statewide Service Coordination Network, which is a statewide network of service coordinators serving Ohio's affordable housing and aging services providers. Members of this network have been instrumental in coordinating a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have ensured that vulnerable older adults remain connected to vital services and supports while sheltering in their own homes.

St. Mary Development Corporation (PRNewsfoto/St. Mary Development Corporation)

Service coordinators assist elderly and disabled residents and families living in affordable housing communities and identify, locate, and acquire the services and supports necessary to become and remain self-sufficient.

Members of the Ohio Statewide Service Coordination Network include St. Mary Development Corporation LeadingAge Ohio, the American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC), and the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a), as well as a statewide alliance of other aging services and senior housing providers, which include: Episcopal Retirement Services (Cincinnati), Graceworks Lutheran Services (Dayton), National Church Residences (Columbus), St. Mary Development Corporation (Dayton), and United Church Homes (Marion). These organizations work together to cover the entire state of Ohio.

"The only way to meet the needs of older people during the COVID crisis is to partner with other organizations," says Tim Bete, president of St. Mary Development. "We routinely work with more than a hundred non-profit and for-profit organizations to meet the healthcare, transportation, food and other needs of our residents. During the stay-home period, we've also partnered with churches and volunteers to deliver more than 2,000 food boxes and other items to our residents."

"COVID-19 has placed the role of service coordinators under a microscope and the resulting view highlights their importance," says LeadingAge Ohio President/CEO Kathryn Brod. "The trusted relationships they build with aging Ohioans becomes crucial in times of uncertainty and fear. Service Coordinators have tackled social determinants of health solutions and addressed social isolation issues inherent with social distancing by crafting a lengthy list of resources for both the elders and their families."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, service coordinators have partnered with Meals on Wheels and local food banks to supply shelf-stable meals to a rush of new recipients in addition to regular clients. Aging services providers have worked to reduce the exposure of older adults to the harmful virus by using service coordinators to eliminate resident trips to the grocery store, connecting older adults to home- and community-based services, and ensuring they are aware of programs for which they qualify under new coronavirus-relief measures.

Some of the services being provided by the service coordinators of the Ohio Statewide Service Coordination Network include:

  • Meal and medicine delivery and donation coordination, many times from local faith communities;
  • Transporting residents to grocery stores and other essential appointments;
  • Creating hotlines and communication plans to educate seniors on the latest COVID-19 updates;
  • Monitoring the health of residents and expanding on-site health services;
  • Ensuring frequent and ongoing sanitation of affordable housing common spaces and ensuring infection control is followed carefully, especially in regard to the move-in process for and education of new tenants;
  • Manufacturing and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring residents and staff have masks and sanitizers;
  • Contacting and providing case management for tens of thousands of seniors served by the state's Area Agencies on Aging (AAA); and
  • Working daily to ensure access to long-term services and home supports as individuals age in place.

In addition, service coordinators have been instrumental in connecting older adults to technology that can assist clinical care and the residents' mental health. Telephonic and virtual care assessments have been assisted through service coordination, including connecting with the COVID Amazon Echo App to track health changes. Service coordinators also assist seniors in arranging and conducting video chat meetings with family and friends during social distancing.

St. Mary partners with more than a hundred social services, real estate, healthcare and technology organizations to serve their residents. Potential partners can contact Cathy Campbell, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, using the links below.



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SOURCE St. Mary Development Corporation