Incorporating community volunteers into the health care system shows promise in reducing health care usage by older adults and shifting health care from hospitals to primary care; so according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). They find that older adults who took part in the Health TAPESTRY program change the way; which they use health care services, says lead author Dr. Lisa Dolovich, Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
Encouragingly, participants had more visits to primary care with fewer; [emergency department] and hospital admissions compare to those not in the program. The Health TAPESTRY (Health Teams Advancing Patient Experience: Strengthening Quality) project combines new elements; so such as using train volunteers and electronic software; hence with the current health system, to support optimal aging in adults age 70 years or older.
Controlled trial did not affect
While results from the randomize controll trial did not affect the primary goal of the study; which was to help older adults to reach their health goals; so there were other positive effects between the intervention and control groups. For example, there was an increase of 81 minutes of weekly walking time in the intervention group; hence compare with a 120-minute decrease in the control group, and the intervention group report higher overall levels of physical activity.
The volunteers gave primary health care teams information that the health providers might not have otherwise know. These findings suggest that Health TAPESTRY has the potential to improve the way primary care is deliver in Canada by shifting care of individuals away from hospital; hence to the community and to a more proactive and preventative team-base model of care, says coauthor Dr. David Price, chair, Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University.
Intervention may contribute
In a relate commentary, Dr. Susan Smith, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, writes, “The results of this study suggest that the Health TAPESTRY intervention may contribute to improvements in patient care for older; so community-dwelling adults. Further exploration of this model of care is warrant given the challenge; so for all health systems in shifting from single condition care pathways to approaches that seek to address multimorbidity.
Health TAPESTRY did not improve goal attainment and many patient-report outcomes or experiences; but did improve some clinically important indicators and shows some signals of shifting from reactive care to proactive and preventive care. Further evaluation of Health TAPESTRY mechanisms will help us understand effective components and costs and consequences.