Local agencies team up to provide rides to seniors with help from Sentara

The program is patient-centered so they can decide what will help them best to get to their...
The program is patient-centered so they can decide what will help them best to get to their appointments.(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 11, 2019 at 12:16 PM EST
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Two local agencies are teaming up to provide transportation for elderly adults and disabled adults to healthcare appointments thanks to the help of a grant from Sentara.

Sentara makes year-end donations and this year they donated $535,000 to charities. Way to Go in Harrisonburg received $60,000. Way to Go is an organization that provides transportation to low income families.

They are working with Valley Program for the Aging Services to meet a need that was identified in the Sentara RMH community health assessment last year: transportation for seniors.

Benjamin Craig, executive director for Way to Go, said it is exciting to be able to collaborate with VPAS for this endeavor.

"This program will essentially improve their quality of life," Craig said, "and hoping for better health outcomes."

According to Joyce Nussbaum, health and wellness coordinator for VPAS, this will be a three-tiered program focused on patients for the next two years.

Patients can choose to receive a transportation option with information about what kind of transportation is available in the valley, or they can schedule rides through this program online. The other option is to be in a patient-navigator program.

"They like the idea that they can choose how much help they're going to get," Nussbaum said. "So we're not coming in and saying, 'You have to do it this way,' but 'How much help do you want and how can we help you meet your needs?'"

The patient-navigator program offers trained volunteers to help patients overcome challenges with getting to their appointments and gives the patient control over how much or how little the volunteer helps them.

The transportation cards and ride scheduling are available, but the transportation navigator program will not be available until at least this spring. VPAS is planning a volunteer training in March.