Nurses Nextdoor provides non-emergency medical transportation for elderly

Nonprofit organization uses Uber Health for reliable transportation
August 21, 2023

Nurses Nextdoor is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve health and wellness within local neighborhoods through nurse-led programs. Its newest program, funded in part by an AARP service grant, helps elderly residents get to their medical appointments with a 24/7 transportation service. 

The Nurses Nextdoor organization began in 2022 with seven nurses from the Windstone development near Milton. The organization was established after an elderly neighbor reluctantly asked Bet Wong for a ride to an appointment.

“Here we have so many older people who are not living near their family, and they may not always want to ask for help, so it makes sense to have a transportation service for them,” said Wong, who is a member of the Nurses Nextdoor board of directors.

The organization was awarded an AARP service grant to help pay for 24/7 transportation through Uber Health. Nurses Nextdoor competed against 3,600 applications and was selected due to its use of a non-emergency transportation service that is not dependent on volunteers. 

The organization uses Uber Health to assist patients with transportation to medical and dental appointments. Through this service, transportation is not limited by geography or the number of volunteers. 

The AARP service grant allows Nurses Nextdoor to pay for rides for anyone 80 years old or above. Ride vouchers are limited due to funding, so veterans have preference when scheduling rides.

Nurses Nextdoor members schedule, control and fund rides with Uber Health. No credit card is involved in the transportation process. Additionally, Uber Health allows members to input heath information and insurance in case of emergency. 

Because Uber Health is a HIPAA-compliant service, members of Nurses Nextdoor are trained on how to use Uber Health and are also required to take a HIPAA-compliant class. This helps ensure satisfaction for each user. 

Uber Health also allows family and loved ones to track a user’s ride via a link sent through the service. 

Other than its transportation service, Nurses Nextdoor works to improve health in many areas of the community. 

It has installed an automated external defibrillator in the Windstone clubhouse through the Delaware Department of Health, and held three CPR classes with Beebe Healthcare’s community outreach. 

“The outpour of thank-yous I got after the CPR class was finished was completely amazing,” said Debbie Scott, a founding member of Nurses Nextdoor. 

Outside their neighborhoods, members work with other programs including the Rehoboth Community Resource Center and the Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown to provide food, clothes and other services for people in need. 

Nurses Nextdoor provides aid through a variety of smaller projects to help the community from a nurse's perspective. 

One project has been to facilitate Narcan programs with the Division of Public Health through the Nurses Nextdoor nonprofit. 

“There are a lot of communities where a space like this and a program like this could be helpful,” Wong said.

It is not required for members to be nurses. The program now comprises about 60 members, many of whom are non-nurse volunteers who simply want to help. 

To get involved, volunteers can join the Nurses Nextdoor mailing list at Donations are welcome and can be made by sending a check to Nurses Nextdoor, Unit 1212, 179 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. 

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