How Pandemic Health Workers can serve you

Containing the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our communities remains a top priority as does serving you with the greatest care and love. That’s why we’ve launched the Pandemic Health Worker (PHW) program, a new way to care for you if you’re experiencing symptoms of the virus or have received a diagnosis.

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PHWs act as a direct connection between you and our health care providers. Equipped with technology and other digital tools, they ensure you get the same level of care you need in the comfort of your own home.

We want you to know that being asked to stay home does not mean you are alone in this fight. Members of our care teams and our PHWs are standing by to help you in every way possible if you are suffering from COVID-19 or similar symptoms.

How does the PHW program work?

You will be assigned a PHW after a physician or advanced practice provider virtually screens you as a candidate for the program. Our PHWs are trained to serve you in a number of ways.

They will first interview you to get a better idea of your needs. Then they will deliver a health kit to your front door, equipped with hand sanitizer, a thermometer, health educational materials, a client guide book and a tablet (if needed) that includes a data package.

The mobile device is pre-loaded with applications that will help PHWs continually interact with you. It will also allow you to document how you are feeling, so we can ensure your condition doesn’t worsen. Your PHW will connect with you at least twice a day over 16 days.

Even if you aren’t comfortable with technology, your PHW will be there for you every step of the way. They can walk you through the steps needed to sign up for certain programs that will help us give you the care you need. This includes OSF SilverCloud, a free digital mental health service that can help you manage any feelings of stress or anxiety.

Most importantly, you will have access to the PHW program 24 hours a day. We hope this gives you the comfort you need to safely recover at home.

Why is staying at home so important?

The PHW program, along with the digital solutions we’ve launched, such as Clare (a virtual assistant on the OSF HealthCare website) and a nurse hotline, was developed with the intent of preventing further exposure of COVID-19 for you and those who are on the front lines of care.

Many of you have seen the overcrowding of hospitals around the country due to this pandemic, and that’s is something we are working to avoid with these digital programs in place. We want you to know you don’t have to put yourself at risk to get the care you need.

About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: COVID-19, Innovation