Building a Bridge to Better Care

Licensed Clinical Social Worker B.J. Pinnock describes how RWJF support enables the Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County to aid seniors with their health care needs.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant laid the groundwork that helped us to create the expanded and progressive Older Adult Programs at Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County (JFS). The agency provides in-home counseling, case management, nursing assessments, family guidance, senior transportation, diabetes advocacy, community food pantry, and financial support.

The New Jersey Health Initiative recognized the value of JFS services during fragile economic times. This RWJF funding came at a critical time for the community by providing additional support during the 2009–2010 fiscal year.

Our initial funding from NJHI enabled JFS to develop the Community Support Team which helped area seniors transition from the hospital back home. The Community Support Team provided senior community members with the assistance and reassurance they needed when they returned home from a hospitalization. With needs constantly changing for seniors, the Community Support Team offers the peace of mind that comes from knowing individual needs will be met. The grant served as a catalyst to maintain similar programs for helping older adults when they are at their most vulnerable to navigate the complex health care system with the support of a professional case manager.

Finally, the Foundation funding enabled collaboration opportunities. The Transition Council was formed to discuss individual problem cases, showcase professional commitment, and address widespread health care concerns. Monthly meetings among older adult specialists ultimately led the Transition Council to start Emrx, a nonprofit which will develop a platform for transferring health care information electronically. Emrx will improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of health care and access through the efficient application of health information technology. It ensures proper records are received in a timely and efficient fashion by local health care providers, including physicians, nursing homes, and cancer care offices.

Jewish Family Service would not have grown to our current role without its relationship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Thanks to RWJF and NJHI, Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County was able to build a bridge to better care for hundreds of seniors in need who now receive essential health services through the Older Adults Programs.