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Clark Burn Center partners with Meals on Wheels to deliver fire prevention tips, safety items to older adults

The Clark Burn Center at Upstate University Hospital is delivering burn prevention kits to older adults along with dinner from Meals on Wheels.

Each year more than 486,00 individuals seek medical treatment for burn injuries across the country. Due to the increasing number of older adults with burn injuries, Upstate’s prevention program will aim to reach individuals in 41 counties.

The bags include fire/burn/scald prevention information-magnets with prevention reminders, potholders, water temperature testers and brochures.

Clark Burn Center Burn Program Manager Tamara Roberts, MSN, said with COVID, it has been difficult to reach some of the most vulnerable populations, especially those who are homebound, so she reached out to Meals on Wheels to collaborate.

“Burn injuries are preventable injuries and that is why it is so vital for our program to continue to provide burn prevention education to our community members,” Roberts said.

Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals, a quick safety check and much-needed human connection to homebound seniors. Last week, it also distributed to 360 bags to recipients in Onondaga County. This week the Burn Unit worked with the Madison County Office on Aging and Meals on wheels to deliver 250 packets in Madison County. After that they will hand out about 500 more in Oneida County Cortland County and through the North Area Meals on Wheels.

Roberts said older adults are more at risk for burn injuries because of physical and cognitive changes that occur when people age. In 2021, 106 patients aged 50 or older were admitted to Upstate for burn injuries. Among adults aged 60 to 69, there were 51 admissions.

The project cost $7,000 with Friends in Deed from the Upstate Foundation covering most of the cost, and the Clark Burn fund covering the rest. The funds and donations are vital to sustaining the prevention programs.

“This is an amazing endeavor that with such collaboration that allows us to promote safety education to our most vulnerable with the intentions of also decreasing the numbers of injuries and deaths related to fires and burns,” Roberts said. “Our volunteer services here at Upstate have been assisting with putting all of these bags together—we couldn’t have done it without them.”


Caption:  From left, Case Manager Rachel Thayer, Volunteer Coordinator Tina Casella, Burn Prevention Outreach Assistant & Data Coordinator Kara Judd FF/EMT, and Case Manager Beth Gagnon, with some of outreach items included in this effort.