A HealthPoint patient’s spouse recently passed away from COVID-19. In addition to the shock and sadness of losing their loved one, this patient was also isolated and overwhelmed. Bills were piling up. Arrangements needed to be made. But where do you begin when you are immobilized by grief and quarantine?
The first step for many of our patients, is a phone call from a HealthPoint Patient Engagement Coordinator (PEC). The PECs are members of our Population Health Department and they specialize in patient outreach and navigation. During the current crisis, they, along with re-deployed members of our dental team, are making daily calls to all HealthPoint patients who have tested positive, or are suspected to have COVID-19.
While the PEC’s work to help patients stay healthy and improve the quality of HealthPoint’s care is always essential, it is even more so now that many patients are disconnected from their usual sources of support. Suddenly, a simple phone call can mean everything. It did for the patient who lost their spouse.
“I wanted them to know, especially at a time like this, that they were NOT alone,” said Patient Engagement Coordinator Ilona Fedoruk.
“I made sure to provide them with resources, connect them with our CSRs and BHCs for additional support, and provide them with as much comfort as I could over the phone.”
And that is the goal behind these calls: to let patients know that, even though they are physically isolated, they are not alone. We are here to help them stay safe, healthy, and connected to any resources they might need. This is a win for our patients, but it’s also a win for the wider community because when we help people stay home, we also help slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of new infections.
While daily check-in calls go over best practices for social distancing and offer referrals for a wide range of services (including connections to the patient’s Care Team), sometimes the most important part of the call is simply hearing another person’s voice and feeling cared about. “A patient was really grateful that I called,” said PEC Melissa Palos. “They said, “not even my kids call to check in on me. Thank you so much.”
We second that emotion: Thank you Patient Engagement Coordinators! While your work often goes unseen, its impact on our patients’ lives and our quality of care is unmistakable.