Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 23, 1995

On The United Way: Turning to The League

Mike Field
Staff Writer

     Caring for a loved one with AIDS can be difficult,
especially when a job and other family obligations must be
performed. For many, the specialized care required when a person
with AIDS enters the advanced stages of the disease becomes
simply overwhelming; often, the AIDS patient ends up in a nursing
home because the family cannot cope with the demands of 24-hour

     The problem is especially acute in Maryland, which has the
sixth largest number of people with AIDS in the country while
ranking only 24th in population.

     Now, thanks to a special grant from the United Way, help may
be at hand. The region's first AIDS adult daycare health center
is slated to open next month at The League, a nonprofit program
in Baltimore serving people with physical disabilities. The
facility will provide social work, case management, recreational
activities and comprehensive nursing care in a daycare setting
for AIDS patients from Baltimore City and its surrounding

     Patients will be selected by referral and will need to live
within a one-hour car ride of the center. Only those patients
with a T-cell count less than 200 and a history of at least one
opportunistic infection will be eligible to enroll. The League
expects an enrollment of 60 patients, 20 of whom will attend on
any given day, based on the experiences of the five other AIDS
adult daycare centers that currently exist nationwide.

     "We're trying to keep people with AIDS from having to go to
the hospital or end up in a nursing home," said Michele Hughes,
director of rehabilitation at The League. "A daycare program
provides respite for the primary healthcare providers and family
members involved. Our society is based on the family unit, and
this program is aimed at keeping the family together."

     The AIDS daycare center will result in considerable
healthcare costs savings as well, Hughes said. Delivery of
healthcare services in a daycare setting costs only about half of
what those same services cost in a nursing home.

     Although the center expects eventually to be almost entirely
financially self-sufficient, initial start-up costs were
approximately a quarter of a million dollars, of which $244,900
was supplied by a one-time United Way Community Initiatives

     "This is the first major AIDS project of this sort that the
United Way has funded in this area, and I believe it's a big
step," Hughes said. "The United Way should be applauded for
having the foresight to help create a program that serves such a
profound need. This money will make a big difference in the lives
of many families throughout Central Maryland."

     The university and hospital faculty and staff have reached
29% of their $800,700 goal.

     The university has reached 43% of its $573,700 goal, with
pledges totaling $244,429. In that campaign, the School of
Engineering has reached 85% of its $19,000 goal.

     The hospital has reached 22% of its $232,000 goal, with
pledges totaling $50,000.

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