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scientific articles

Community Health Workers as Support for Sickle Cell Care

key information

source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

year: 2016

authors: Hsu LL, Green NS, Donnell Ivy E, Neunert CE, Smaldone A, Johnson S, Castillo S, Castillo A, Thompson T, Hampton K, Strouse JJ, Stewart R, Hughes T, Banks S, Smith-Whitley K, King A, Brown M, Ohene-Frempong K, Smith WR, Martin M

summary/abstract:

Community health workers are increasingly recognized as useful for improving health care and health outcomes for a variety of chronic conditions. Community health workers can provide social support, navigation of health systems and resources, and lay counseling. Social and cultural alignment of community health workers with the population they serve is an important aspect of community health worker intervention. Although community health worker interventions have been shown to improve patient-centered outcomes in underserved communities, these interventions have not been evaluated with sickle cell disease. Evidence from other disease areas suggests that community health worker intervention also would be effective for these patients. Sickle cell disease is complex, with a range of barriers to multifaceted care needs at the individual, family/friend, clinical organization, and community levels. Care delivery is complicated by disparities in health care: access, delivery, services, and cultural mismatches between providers and families. Current practices inadequately address or provide incomplete control of symptoms, especially pain, resulting in decreased quality of life and high medical expense. The authors propose that care and care outcomes for people with sickle cell disease could be improved through community health worker case management, social support, and health system navigation. This paper outlines implementation strategies in current use to test community health workers for sickle cell disease management in a variety of settings. National medical and advocacy efforts to develop the community health workforce for sickle cell disease management may enhance the progress and development of “best practices” for this area of community-based care.

organisation: University of Illinois at Chicago; Columbia University; Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville; Virginia Commonwealth University; Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of Tennessee; Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois; Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Baltimore; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Washington University; Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California

DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.01.016

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