A positive attitude and reliable ride help cancer patient on her road to recovery

Jul 19, 2023

Battling cancer for a number of years and no longer able to drive to her appointments, Mary called Council on Aging for assistance.

Today, Mary is enrolled in the Hamilton County Elderly Service Program and receives transportation to her chemotherapy treatments. Her rides are coordinated through home52 Transportation.

home52 Transportation coordinates multiple transportation providers through a centralized transportation coordination center, providing on-demand and advance-scheduled trips for riders, like Mary, who require specialized transportation services. home52 Transportation was created by Council on Aging and its subsidiary, home52. It launched in May 2021.
When Mary needs to schedule a ride, she calls home52 Transportation’s call center. “Everyone is delightful and helpful,” Mary said of the call center staff. “The day before my appointment, I receive a reminder call. This is beneficial. I like to have my clothes laid out the night before and pack a lunch. My treatment lasts all day.”

On appointment days, Mary receives a call to let her know her ride is on the way. “This provides the time I need to grab my lunch, head to the garage and position myself in the wheelchair,” she explained.

If a ride is running late, coordinators in the home52 Transportation call center reach out to clients to let them know. If the client is going to an appointment and will be late because of a transportation delay, call center staff reach out on the client’s behalf to ensure they will still be seen at their appointment when they arrive.

Most of Mary’s rides to her chemotherapy appointments have been provided by home52 Transportation provider, 360 Total Care. Rodger is one of her regular drivers. “He is a delight and I enjoy our conversations,” said Mary, adding that her ride is always on time. She is especially grateful when it’s Rodger who returns to pick her up when her treatments are finished.

home52 Transportation is different than other transportation systems, including public transit and rideshare services. These traditional systems do not always meet the transportation needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities.

“The individuals who ride with us need hands-on support,” said home52 Transportation program manager, Bryan Black. “They need someone to collect them at their door, assist them safely into and out of the vehicle, and then to assist them into their appointment location. In many cases, our drivers are also managing the rider’s equipment, such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs.”

This is what makes the difference for Mary, especially after a long day of treatment. “I have a smile on my face when I see Rodger return to pick me up,” she said. “At my home, Rodger opens the garage door and wheels me in. He knows I’m very weak. He stands behind me, provides an arm so that I may lift myself up from the wheelchair, and he’s right there when I step into my home.”

Exhausted from her treatment, Mary can often be heard singing Amazing Grace or chanting as she makes the short trip from her garage into her home. She said, “This provides the motivation I need to place one foot in front of the other.”

As Mary’s needs have changed over the years, her Elderly Services Program care manager, Deanna, has helped, ensuring Mary has the support she needs so she doesn’t miss a treatment. And, Mary’s treatments are working. She recently reported to Deanna that her numbers have improved dramatically in the last year. “Thank goodness,” she told Deanna. “COA got me there. Thank you for the support and mostly the transportation.”

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