One of the challenges during this pandemic is trying to take a holistic approach to care. Some of our most vulnerable community members are being impacted. NEVHC is not only a health care provider but also a source of information for these patients, connecting them to resources that address not only their physical health but also factors like their mental wellbeing and food security.
We’ve been doing drive-thru testing for about two or three weeks, but, before that started, we were seeing patients in their cars starting in March. One of our first patients that we did a car assessment for came in with all the symptoms of COVID-19, and she had her partner and children all with her in her car. It turned out that she could not self-isolate because they were living out of their car. We knew that the coronavirus test wasn’t going to be enough to help this family. When we learned they were experiencing homelessness, we gave them information about a food pantry and followed up with the patient and her children, so that they could see a pediatrician. We saw this patient again last week, and she was doing so much better. I almost didn’t recognize her. There was marked improvement because we took a family-centered approach, rather than only addressing the patient’s health symptoms. And this was just one family we were able to identify with these needs. Who knows how many other patients we’ve encountered in the same position, who need access to these types of resources during this challenging time?
This is why I volunteered to work in the drive-thru test site and what inspires me to keep going to work. It’s knowing that we’re making a difference in patients’ lives and continuing to send the positive message to patients that people are here to help them, connect them to resources and take care of them during this pandemic.