Nutrition

Homewatch CareGivers Targets In-Home Nutritional Support, Partners with Chefs for Senior – Home Health Care News

Access to quality nutrition is often one of the overlooked aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors aging in place.

But companies that offer home-delivered meals can help boost patient outcomes and lower overall health care costs. Home-based care providers that are partnering with such organizations see the relationship as a “beautiful fit,” especially as referral sources and payers continue to focus on social determinants of health.

In April, Denver-based Homewatch CareGivers announced a collaboration with Chefs for Seniors, a culinary-focused company that makes and curates meal plans for seniors aging at home. Homewatch CareGivers is a home care franchise company that serves 33 states and seven countries through 233 total locations.

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“Chefs for Seniors is a relationship that fits beautifully with home care services as they complement one another and allow shared clients to have a wider continuum of care with nutritious and delicious meals as well as personal and companion care at home,” Homewatch CareGivers COO Jennifer Tucker said in an email to Home Health Care News. “Chefs for Seniors strives to work with those who are needing specialty diets related to certain chronic conditions.”

Chefs for Seniors was started in 2013 by the father-son duo Barrett and Nathan Allman.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based company has over 70 franchise locations across the U.S. and provides custom meal preparation services to seniors.

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“Chefs For Seniors believes this relationship with Homewatch CareGivers shows their commitment to proper nutrition for their clients while reinforcing the importance of healthy meals as part of the entire care plan,” COO Nathan Allman said in an email to HHCN. “We’re excited to work with their nationwide network of franchise owners to provide an alternative meal solution for their clients, especially those with specific dietary concerns.”

Homewatch also recently announced a partnership with The Helper Bees, which recently acquired healthAlign. That further adds to what the home care franchiser can do around nutrition, as healthAlign offers meal delivery services through Medicare Advantage.

A lack of access to nutritious food for people who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid is a problem that likely leads to higher readmission rates, ​​a Health Affairs study found.

Homewatch and its owners are constantly looking for ways to differentiate and efficiently operate to provide the best care possible, Tucker said. The company found that meal preparation and delivery could help health systems and hospitals further reduce health care costs and improve patients outcomes.

“Ensuring that clients have a nutritious and well-balanced diet is a crucial part of providing support through home care services,” Tucker said. “Our new alliance with Chefs for Seniors offers an elevated approach where a skilled professional chef can prepare delicious, home-cooked meals from the comfort of a client’s kitchen while being mindful of any dietary restriction.”

Not only can meal and grocery delivery services help reduce overall health care costs, they can also be an effective way to keep patients on track after surgeries and treatments, she added.

“Proper nutrition and hydration is essential for those healing from surgeries and treatments,” she said. “When a person does not consume adequate amounts of water or consume a healthy diet, they are at increased risk for falls due to feeling weak or dizzy.”

The future of nutrition in home care

In an industry that is constantly changing, it’s more important than ever for home-based care providers to listen to their clients about their needs. Tucker said these partnerships are examples of taking a fresh approach to enhancing the continuum of care model.

“As this industry evolves, its importance for our industry to continue to bring a fresh approach and listen to the needs of our clients,” Tucker said. “Caregivers are there to offer support in the kitchen whether it is preparing vegetables for a meal or heating up a dinner, but delivery services can continue to help provide time for other activities or hobbies a caregiver and their client can enjoy.”

Access to nutritional meals is a necessity, Tucker said, but continued education is another big piece of the puzzle.

“There are many cases where caregivers are there to help provide each meal and it’s important for them to know the nutritional needs for each client,” she said. “[Homewatch] caregivers receive ongoing training as it relates to chronic conditions that clients are living with.”

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