Yad Sarah, Israel’s leading volunteer organization that lends medical equipment to all and provides a wide variety of other services to the sick, injured, elderly and disabled, said on Thursday that it saves taxpayers NIS 5.5 billion in personal healthcare expenses every year.
According to its calculation of current hospital costs and how many pieces of lent equipment, the organization presented figures that show how it has managed to cut hospitalization days. In addition, Yad Sarah estimates that its services save Israeli taxpayers hundreds of millions of shekels in other expenses.
Although Israel is well known for its high-quality healthcare and universal coverage for citizens and residents, the system nevertheless faces enormous strain because of the rapid increase in population, severe lack of physicians and nurses and a perpetual shortage of hospital beds. Because it does not receive ongoing government funding, Yad Sarah, thanks to its many donors, has for decades coped with the country’s healthcare needs.
Popularly known in Israel for its diverse medical equipment lending service, Yad Sarah’s activities at 123 branches country-wide include over a dozen areas of care for locals and visitors and saves lives.Yad Sarah said it offers assistance to an estimated 1,250,000 people every year, thanks to its 7,000 volunteers and it impacts the lives of one out of every two Israeli families.
By providing at-home hospital equipment for patients, the organization reduced total hospitalization stays by 14,000 beds, relieving stress on hospitals across the country. In 2022, Yad Sarah distributed over NIS 1.5 million in drugs free of charge to senior individuals unable to afford to pay for their prescriptions. Most of these were donated by people who no longer needed medicines.
Over 83 elderly people were saved by Yad Sarah-issued fall detection sensors that immediately alerted its hotline and emergency services. Some 2,700 elderly people received pro-bono legal assistance from volunteer lawyers at branches, and its mobile dental clinic gave 5,600 people treatment at home.
A dedicated in-house occupational therapist develops dozens of products, like a one-handed scissor, kitchen utensils and adaptive home appliances to promote accessibility and independence.
It provided 3,400 treatments for people with neurological issues at its five rehabilitation centers throughout the country.
Yad Sarah volunteers made 163,817 calls to alleviate seniors experiencing loneliness and isolation and recorded hundreds of personal accounts of seniors as part of the “Life Story Project,” preserving their legacies for future generations.
“We are very proud of Yad Sarah’s contribution to the health of the entire country,” said Rabbi Uri Lupolianski, who founded Yad Sarah in 1976.
“While it is impossible to truly understand the enormous value Yad Sarah provides to individuals and their families, by announcing an amount in shekels for the work our volunteers and staff do each year and the various forms of help we provide, we are able to better understand and appreciate the formidable impact it has had on Israeli society and its citizens. As we grow and expand, we will continue to focus on how our organization can provide the maximum impact for the most people every day, week, month and year.”