A volunteer program in Maine to transport community members to health care appointments

Prev Chronic Dis

Transportation to health care appointments is a well-known barrier for many people, especially people living in rural areas. At the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP), 1 of 8 regional transportation centers in Maine, a robust volunteer program consisting of 93 drivers complements a staff of 45 drivers and 23 office staff members. The volunteers drive approximately 5 to 40 hours per week and have served for an average 4.4 years (range, 1-26 y); their ages range from 23 to 88. The volunteer driver program consists of a volunteer coordinator who communicates with volunteers; staff members who schedule rides; a software application (app) that serves as an interface between the agency and the volunteers as they drive clients to and from medical and social service appointments; regular training; recognition events; and incentives. Most clients have no other transportation option and indicated in informal surveys conducted by KVCAP that they would not attend appointments if the volunteer program were not available. In rural settings, volunteer driving networks provide a viable model to help meet the transportation needs of the population. Recruitment and retention of volunteers is an ongoing effort.

Martin SL, Wood J, Soule S. A volunteer program in Maine to transport community members to health care appointments. Prev Chronic Dis. 2020;17:E77. PMID: 32762808. DOI: 10.5888/pcd17.200085.

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