An adult day care program that includes medical services has opened at the recently renamed Sheehan Health Network.
The program is operated by the Schofield Residence, which relocated its existing program to Sheehan and enlarged it.
The move also represents part of the changes at Sheehan, which is attempting to reorganize the former acute-care hospital on Michigan Avenue to focus on basic health services.
Schofield, located in the Town of Tonawanda, combined its adult day care program with the one at the Episcopal Church Home, which closed its Buffalo facility. The program now can handle more than 200 people, and operates six days a week with a morning and afternoon session Monday through Friday and one session on Saturday.
"We're at around 65 percent capacity and are hoping to fill the program. There is definitely a need," said Laura Mondello, spokeswoman for Schofield, who described the move as a good fit for both organizations.
Adult day care generally falls into two categories: social centers that cater mainly to individuals who need supervision but not specialized care, and medical day care centers that provide health-related services.
The state maintains a moratorium on enlarging programs. Schofield, which has operated adult day care since 1987, got around the moratorium by taking on Episcopal's licensed adult day care slots, but this required a larger site.
"Sheehan made sense because it is centrally located and easy to get to. It also has outpatient services that fit our program," said Mondello.
Medical adult day care is considered an attractive alternative to nursing homes because it is significantly less expensive and postpones or avoids nursing home care. Services generally include health monitoring, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
Nearly all of the clients are on Medicaid, which covers the cost of adult day care and transportation to the site.
The clients range in age from 20s to 90s, and include the elderly, as well as those with such medical problems as stroke, diabetes complications, multiple sclerosis and head injuries.