What are Community Health Workers?
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a front-line public health worker who is a trusted member of the community and has a close understanding of the North Country. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison between the client and healthcare, social service, and community organizations to facilitate access to care and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
Why use a Community Health Worker?
Traditional care coordination works for many patients who are dealing with chronic disease and may have been hospitalized or visited the ED. However, for a select percentage of the population, especially older adults with complex health needs, ongoing supports are essential to reducing trips to the hospital.
CHWs provide critical services that bridge the gaps that often lead to patients’ return to the hospital or worsening of their chronic disease.
Health starts in the home and the community. CHWs meet with patients in their homes or a community meeting setting and develope a trusting relationship based on the community they share.
Whereas patients are often ashamed or embarrassed to share all their needs or concerns with their provider, or sometimes there just isn’t enough time during medical appointments, CHWs can delve into the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) needs that are negatively impacting the management of patients’ illnesses and provide them with relatable health information specific to their situation.
How can I find a Community Health Worker?
The North Country Health Consortium’s Ways2Wellness CONNECT program provides CHWs to work with patients 55 and older with unmanaged chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes, CHF, COPD, etc. There is no cost to the provider or the patient.
Did you know?
CHW Programs have been shown to:
- Improve continuity of care and patient outcomes
- Reduce 30-day readmission rates
- Improve patient compliance with mediations and regimens
- Close critical gaps in understanding that can occur between provider visits and patients’ homes
- Be a cost-effective approach to improve health, resulting in increased patient visits for preventive and primary care and fewer hospitalizations and visits for urgent care