Posts tagged ‘national weather service’

September 2011 marks the 10-year Anniversary of PCA’s Helpline

Since its creation, the Helpline has taken more than one million calls!

The PCA Helpline is an extensive telephone information and referral service that connects callers with programs, services and resources available to Philadelphia residents who are age 60 and over, or who are age 18 and over living with disabilities. 

The PCA Helpline is the point of intake for four of PCA’s service areas; Care at Home, Housing, Attendant Transportation and Protective Services.  An Intake Specialist receives information over the telephone or through the mail concerning a person in need of services.  This information is passed on to the appropriate department at PCA.  In the case of Care at Home services, an appointment for an in-home assessment is scheduled.  Languages spoken by staff include English, Spanish, and Russian.  PCA utilizes the Language Line to accommodate any linguistic needs not addressed by bilingual staff or the following dedicated foreign-language lines.  No fee for services provided through the Helpline.

Helpline Fun Facts

  • Helpline is open 8:30am-5:00pm Mon-Friday
  • Helpline completes intakes for all Long Term Care programs plus, Older Protective Services, Housing, Attendant Transportation and BRAVO Health applications.
  • 23 Helpline Intake Workers scheduled assessments for more than 80 AW’s and process program change paperwork for 192 CM’s
  • Emergency Fund requests from PCA staff and city wide agencies are processed by Helpline.
  • The Helpline can accommodate ANY language that calls.
  • Helpline assists the Philadelphia community with special programs such as Food Vouchers and Flu Shoot Programs.
  • Helpline seconds as the Heatline when the National Weather Service calls an Heat Emergency, at that time the Helpline/Heatline can operate up to 7 days per week and can stay open until midnight.


PCA Heatline – Helps 1,300+ Callers


The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Heatline received 1, 326 calls from Philadelphia residents during the three activations that have taken place so far this year. Of those, 111 callers were referred to nurses from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health who were stationed at the site.  Nurses dispatched the city mobile health team to intervene in one case and called 9-1-1 for emergency assistance on behalf of two other callers.

“We believe – and statistics show – that we are helping to save lives by providing this service,” says Chris Gallagher, director of the PCA Helpline Call Center — 215-765-9040 — which becomes the city’s Heatline during a potentially dangerous heat wave.

The PCA Heatline was created in 1993, following a heat wave the previous year that claimed 118 lives. It is a collaboration between PCA and Philadelphia’s Health Department, and has been recognized as a model nationwide.

Trained staff members from PCA are available to counsel callers with tips to prevent heat stress and suggest air-conditioned locations where they can go. Callers with medical concerns are referred to city Public Health Department nurses.

Activations are triggered when the National Weather Service declares an “Excessive Heat Warning for Philadelphia.” The latest activation began Wednesday, July 20 and ended on Sunday, July 24.  The HEATLINE was previously activated this year from June 8 to 9 and from May 31 to June 1 – its earliest activation ever.

The elderly; individuals with chronic medical conditions; those on medication; homebound individuals; and persons who live alone and receive few visitors are encouraged to call the Heatline for advice on coping with the heat. In addition, callers may contact the Heatline on behalf of another individual who may be at risk for heat stress.

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