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NEW SERVICE IN PROVO HELPS THE HOMEBOUND MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN

Six days a week, Christine Franck does odds and ends for Lois and Melrose Pritchett.

Sometimes she reads to Melrose, who's recovering from his second stroke. Other days she does the laundry and light cleaning or waters the flowers."She does everything that I ask her, besides volunteering a lot of things," Lois Pritchett said. "We have been very, very pleased."

Franck works for The Errand Girl, a service for homebound adults, primarily the elderly. Kristen Gunsay, a Provo resident and nursing student at Brigham Young University, started the service eight months ago.

The Errand Girl will buy groceries for clients, drive them to the doctor or other personal appointments, provide companionship, pick up prescriptions or take care of the cleaning, etc.

"We also have employees who spend the night with people who are nervous (about being alone) or need to be reminded to take medication," Gunsay said. "Whatever they need, we do."

Gunsay realized through her nursing education and her experience working in a convalescent home that with just a little help some people would be able to stall or forego moving to a nursing home. The service helps some people make it on their own without being dependent on family and friends, Gunsay said.

"I've surely been thankful that I did find out (about The Errand Girl)," Lois Pritchett said. "It's been very hard to find extra help, especially here in American Fork."

The service has 20 part-time employees to serve its 15 to 30 clients. Utah County's three Intermountain Health Care hospitals refer people to The Errand Girl. Gunsay is also promoting the service through fliers placed in doctors' offices around the valley.

The Errand Girl will soon contract with local government agencies to provide home health care through certified nurses aides, Gunsay said.

The Errand Girl charges flat rates for its various errand services. For example, it's $5 for prescription pickup and delivery, $7.50 for grocery pickup and delivery and $5 for postal services.

Domestic services cost $6.50 per hour, as do transportation services.