A Client/Health Guide Collaboration to Ensure Access and Follow Through
By Andrew MacNeil, Guelph CHC Health Guide
What’s the story?
A Guelph CHC patient, despite having a strong therapeutic alliance with their primary care provider, was not following up on appointments with primary care, specialist appointments, or diagnostic testing (blood work, ultrasounds, etc). Chronic pain, an acquired brain injury causing cognitive issues, mental health and a past history of substance use require the member to make frequent use of health care services. However, due to issues with memory and having no phone, the overwhelming majority of
appointments were being forgotten and reminder calls were impossible.
How did Health Links make a difference?
Health Links has helped by engaging the client in developing ways to ensure appointments are remembered and attended. While challenging the member to make use of a day-timer and a calendar to better track appointments, the Health Guide has also made efforts to be available for drop-ins from the member, as that is their preferred method of maintaining contact. The member has expressed that having someone be available to them so consistently when they are motivated to follow up has been very valuable. The member completed a long overdue ultrasound and plans are made to ensure attendance at an upcoming orthopedic consultation.
What did you learn from this experience?
Complex clients often struggle to access services successfully due to a combination of personal and systemic barriers. The process of building rapport and trust with complex clients often does much to alleviate these barriers to access. By building strong relationships, service providers can challenge members to work on their personal barriers, while advocating for them to address systemic barriers.
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