North Dakota Cancer Treatment Centers Dialysis Units
The area surrounded in black is served by South Central Adult Services
In 1992, South Central Adult Services received a Project CARE grant from the Administration on Aging. The goal of the project was to develop a coalition in Barnes County, North Dakota which would evaluate the needs of the county’s growing elderly population, as well as assist local communities in developing programs to meet those needs. Sectors of the community, not traditionally involved in services to the elderly, were encouraged to participate in the project. A public forum was held on January 15, 1992. Approximately fifty people attended the forum. Of those present, thirty-two people expressed a desire to be part of the coalition. (In researching the information for this presentation, I noted that the temperature on the day of the first forum was thirty degrees BELOW zero.)
Surveys were developed and distributed to all sectors of the community to determine what needs were not being met. Although the transportation needs within Valley City were being met, there were many people in need of transportation to larger medical facilities in Fargo (60 miles east of Valley City) and Jamestown (35 miles west of Valley City). Many people were unable to access cancer treatments in Fargo and dialysis in Jamestown. Coalition members began recruiting volunteers to transport these patients. By the time we scheduled the first training for the drivers, we had 40 people signed up to drive.
The winter of 93/94 was very difficult and we had several patients requiring daily transportation. Lafarge Dakota, a local trucking firm, contacted us and stated that their drivers were on temporary lay-off during the winter months, and they wanted to volunteer to transport our people during the time they were not working. Lafarge Dakota provided their drivers with a vehicle, a cell phone, and the fuel to provide the rides. The drivers donated their time. We only missed one scheduled appointment through the entire winter because of their driving skills and their determination to get their passengers where they needed to go.
Lafarge Dakota District was the recipient of the "Above and Beyond in Special Needs" award from Sure-Lok Safe and Secure. Here Joan Campbell, retired director of South Central Adult Services, presents the award to Lafarge Dakota District General Manager Paul Chale. From left are drivers, Jim Poehls and Ken Kinney; Heidi Lindemann and Doris Jewett from the Lafarge office; and at right is Pat Hansen, the current director of South Central Adult Services. This is the first time a company has ever been given the award. Campbell and Hansen nominated Lafarge for the award for going above and beyond in providing trips to take cancer patients to Fargo for their appointments. (Jean Schlegel/VCTR)By Jean SchlegelTimes--Record Features Editor
Increases in State and Federal funds have allowed us to implement many new routes and services in our region over a period of years. In the late 90s we purchased a vehicle to transport dialysis patients to Jamestown three days each week. There were too many riders to fit in a regular vehicle and some of the passengers had become wheelchair bound. We currently provide rides three days per week to seven individuals, three of whom are unable to transfer to regular seating.
My long-range goal has been to implement service five days per week to Fargo at a cost anyone could afford. Rising fuel prices have made the task of finding private volunteers to drive the 120 mile round-trip much more difficult. In August of this year we received another increase in federal funds. In September, we began providing daily transportation to Fargo for cancer patients and others who have brief appointments in Fargo. South Central Adult Services will provide the rides during the spring, summer and fall months, and Lafarge Dakota will continue to provide rides during the winter months when they are on lay-off.
The most important lesson I have learned from this project, and many others we have implemented over the years, is that we need to work within the community to coordinate services. We also need to keep the community informed of the needs of our people and encourage “non-traditional” people to help meet those needs. You never know who might be looking for a way to help! Pat Hansen, Director South Central Adult Services Website: southcentralseniors.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org