An Outreach Phone Call Project: Using Home Health to Reach Isolated Community Dwelling Adults During the COVID 19 Lockdown

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Home health care (HHC) focuses on delivering skilled health care services to patients in their homes. Over 82% of HHC patients are 65 and older, and living with chronic health conditions. In an effort to respond to the risk the COVID-19 pandemic presented for patients, a HHC agency designed “The Outreach Phone Call Project”. This program was developed to provide telephone support to at-risk patients who had received HHC prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. In total, 16 Care Transition Managers participated in the project and over 4,000 patients received a call from the clinical team. Approximately 44% of the calls did not require any further follow up, 20% of the patients did not answer the call, and 3% of patients were referred back to HHC. Another 13% needed education and assistance with social issues. The calls provided a means of safe connection and support between providers and patients during the pandemic and facilitated access to health and social resources. However, the most beneficial aspect of the program was the opportunity for seasoned HHC nurses to identify clinical changes in the health of patients and to assist them in the triage process. Results of this study demonstrate that the implementation of a calling project during the pandemic shutdown provided invaluable connection and outreach to vulnerable populations. This simple change in practice enabled HHC professionals to reach patients who were isolated and in need of education and assistance. As a result of the implementation of an “Outreach Phone Call Project”, the HHC agency learned many lessons which may be helpful to others who would like to create a similar program in the future. It facilitated clinical assessment, education and intervention for isolated patients during the COVID 19 pandemic and implementation of similar practice should be considered in the post-pandemic world.


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