Legal-name: Pathways Volunteer Hospice
Address: 4645 Woodruff Avenue
Organizational-status: 501 (c) (3)
Officer: Shannon McGehee, Chair, Pathways Board of Directors
ContactName: Cindy Skovgard
Title: Executive Director
Tel-952: 562 531 3031
GrantPurpose: The purpose of this grant is to enable Pathways Volunteer Hospice (Pathways) to continue to serve isolated, homebound older adults who find themselves disenfranchised from our community due to COVID-19.
Periodoftime: April 2020 – March 2021
Audienceserved: Isolated, low-income, chronically ill, homebound older adults
Demoofaudience: Pathways Care Navigation Program (CNP) participants are homebound, isolated, and underserved older adults ages 65 years and over, residing in the Greater Long Beach area. Many CNP participants are also clients of Meals on Wheels-Long Beach (MOW-LB) and they are low-income or extremely low-income and have provided doctor’s note indicating they are homebound and need financial assistance for meals. This group is at risk of untreated chronic medical problems, life-threatening falls, isolation, poor nutrition, depression, and possible institutionalization. Because of a longstanding relationship with MOW-LB, Pathways is one of the only organizations prepared to quickly step in to assist those clients with necessary services that go beyond a home-delivered meal. Pathways has taken on increased case management and assistance with accessing services to address MOW-LB clients’ health care challenges.
District: All districts
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? With the current Covid-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order, it is more critical than ever that the CNP continues contact with vulnerable older adults, and to do so without personal, in-home visits. Pathways is accustomed to quickly mobilizing in times of crisis and was able to respond by establishing six teams of staff and volunteers who contact every CNP client by telephone daily or weekly, depending on the severity of need. Over 450 older adults are in continual phone contact by the teams. Pathways was quick to respond delivering essential care packages of food and critical home supplies to current CNP clients who found themselves isolated by the Stay at Home order. For 35 years, Pathways has been the “go to” organization for anyone in the Greater Long Beach area dealing with grief, loss, and tragedy, both personal and community wide. For example, Pathways developed the Children’s Grief Counseling and Education Program (CHANGES) in 1992 in direct response to the lack of bereavement services for children. We are looked upon as first responders and have a strong history of responding to school-based and community crisis when called upon. Attending to the mental health needs of the whole family, especially older adults, is central to Pathways mission. Many of our accomplishments, unfortunately, stem from a response to tragedies, which is why we are adept at pivoting and mobilizing our resources in an emergency.
Strong leadership from Pathways Board of Directors has begun a project of identifying weekly sponsors for hot meals for homebound individuals in the CNP. Initial efforts are gaining momentum and include cash donations for food purchases as well as necessary household supplies. Since all fundraising events have been suspended because of COVID-19, Pathways board and Executive Director seek alternative ways to raise awareness and money to keep programs going. To the extent we can, we rely on social media to compensate for the lack of personal appeals. This is an excellent time to call upon our long history of serving the Long Beach community in cultivating continuing donations and care packages for the high-risk, vulnerable individuals in our caseload. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a crisis for our organization because while the demands for our life-saving services have dramatically increased, we have no income. Pathways is struggling to cover operating costs and ensure we have adequate staffing to keep up with the workload.
2. What additional services, above your standard operations, will be conducted with this grant funding?: Each week, Pathways delivers 20- 25 “essential care packages” to older adults who are isolated and in critical need of food and supplies. The local grocery stores are helping Pathways fill food and essential home supply orders on a priority basis, which allows us to avoid long lines and empty shelves. To help pay for these essential care packages, Pathways accepts cash donations on-line through Pay Pal. We have also ramped up grant seeking/writing efforts to increase our capacity to serve those who are especially vulnerable as a result of the pandemic. Because we have no income, and our ability to deliver services is entirely dependent upon our staff, we are in need of general operating funds to avoid employee lay-offs. Competition for the available disaster relief funds is fierce, however Pathways is an essential service, especially now given the risk of infection to older adults, but we have a small staff and limited resources. Grant writing efforts must be directed to the funding opportunities with the highest probability of success.
A Long Beach Disaster Relief Fund Grant will enable Pathways to continue to serve isolated, homebound older adults who find themselves disenfranchised from our community due to COVID-19. It will help to ensure there is no interruption in services to those most in need of access to care, case management, and help with their daily challenges. While the needs of these vulnerable older adults were great prior to Covid-19, they are now the highest risk group as a result of the virus. Whereas chronic illness, isolation and depression were rampant before the pandemic, they could now prove lethal without swift and safe intervention of the sort Pathways provides.
In lieu of personal, in-home visits, Pathways will quickly mobilize to continue compassionate, effective contact with CNP clients through telephone contact. We have organized six teams of staff and volunteers to telephone everyone in the CNP program, over 450 adults in total. We rely on email, text messaging and Zoom meetings to coordinate services and maintain a seamless system of referrals of new clients from MOW-LB.
As the Covid-19 crisis continues, we anticipate an increase in the numbers of isolated older individuals. The situation is constantly changing and knowing how to navigate services and systems is essential. Pathways staff are experienced case managers who rely on longstanding relationships with many community organizations in order to meet the needs of our clients. It is highly likely that we may be called upon to expand beyond our current capacity in order to help vulnerable clients and to provide emergency food and supplies to those in dire straits. It is a struggle to cover the cost of keeping staff employed and to avoid layoffs. All of Pathways programs rely exclusively on direct services provided by our staff. We will continue our efforts to apply for general operating funds, and to solicit donations of food, cash donations, and basic home supplies.
3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : The Pathways Care Navigation Program (CNP) assists vulnerable, isolated, homebound adults, some of whom are clients of MOW-LB, and others who are in the process of applying for home-delivered meals. All are in need of case management and assistance with their healthcare needs available through the CNP. These clients are low-income or extremely low-income and have provided doctor’s note indicating they are homebound and need financial assistance for meals. CNP clients have chronic medical problems and are isolated, vulnerable, live alone and lack physical strength and/or mental health to shop for groceries or stand long enough to prepare meals. These limitations lead to poor nutrition, declining health, and diminished capacity to recover from illness, as well as emotional consequences such as depression, disorientation, and isolation. In addition to needing nutritious meals, these older adults are in serious need of personal support and assistance to remain independent and safe in their own homes. These individuals are the primary beneficiaries of the program.
A variety of community organizations in Long Beach also benefit from Pathways CNP. Meals-on-Wheels-Long Beach and California State University Long Beach School of Nursing and Gerontology collaborate with Pathways in implementing the CNP. The CSULB students receive direct, hands-on skill development through their involvement in the CNP. Prior to COVID-19, the students conducted individual assessments with the older adults in their homes. When the stay-at-home order is lifted, home visits will resume.
Pathways Executive Director is part of the City of Long Beach Aging Services Providers Network and she participates in weekly conferences with this group via Zoom. Through this means, a system of reciprocal referrals is maintained, and vital communication and relationships continue despite the crisis. Among the many community agencies that benefit from Pathways CNP are Gold Star Manor, CareMore, and the Century Villages at Cabrillo. Together with Pathways, these organizations are unified in the goal of providing older adults with access to healthcare services and resources to help them thrive and live as independently as possible.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: Pathways has received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds in the amount of $52,000.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for?: The COVID-19 crisis has made it impossible for Pathways to conduct any fundraising activities, creating a significant financial hardship for our organization (fundraising comprises 21% of our total budget). We are increasing grant seeking and writing activities and have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). We have applied to the Eisner Foundation for Rapid Response funding also. It should be noted that Pathways does not charge for any of our program services, which is why we are looking for core operating support to enable us to continue to provide vital and critical services to those impacted by the crisis.