HCA is launching two major statewide home care initiatives to address critical needs in the COVID-19 emergency — and beyond — thanks to a generous grant from the Mother Cabrini Foundation. HCA was informed of both project grant approvals late last week.
COVID-19 Testing in Home Care
In partnership with the Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) and Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS), HCA will provide and fund training that will enable home care clinicians to conduct COVID-19 testing in the home setting across New York State.
According to a recent HCA survey, 86 percent of agencies lack training and equipment to conduct testing; yet the overwhelming majority of home care providers are willing to do so — a powerful, yet untapped, resource at a time when the pace of COVID-19 testing has been named as a top deficiency of the overall epidemiological response.
Importantly, more robust in-home testing will also help avoid contact risks, as patients, especially those who are homebound, can get tested in place, without necessitating travel difficulties or health dangers visiting congregate settings for testing. Home care agencies who test can also more efficiently learn about a patient’s infection status, for treatment purposes as well as worker and patient safety.
Statewide Virtual Senior Center
HCA is also partnering with Selfhelp Community Services to make available its Virtual Senior Center (VSC) to all home care agencies — a service that Selfhelp has successfully pioneered for isolated homebound patients in New York City.
Research shows that isolation in the elderly and persons with disabilities is linked to higher risks or exacerbations of many physical and mental health conditions. COVID-19 and the imperative of social distancing have now made this kind of isolation a fixture of everyday life for New Yorkers in far greater and more extensive ways.
This HCA-Selfhelp initiative is well-suited to the COVID-19 emergency response, addressing concerns about social isolation raised by virtually all home care agencies in a recent HCA survey on COVID-19 impacts. It also offers sustainable help for high-risk populations as the underlying concerns about social isolation persist far beyond the current pandemic emergency. The program will also look to engage with key state and local partners, including the state Department of Health, state Office For Aging, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) plans and others.
HCA expects to announce further program launch details later this month. We are also working with state agencies to coordinate their participation and support.
HCA thanks our Board of Directors and members for their guidance; our project partners at IHA, MVHS and Selfhelp for their leadership and expertise; and the Mother Cabrini Fund for its generosity in supporting and enabling these programs.