• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 5/21/2013

Supplementing the workforce 

To address the growing shortage of healthcare workers in the US and to reduce costs, a health system in Houston (the Grand-Aides Foundation) now recruits experienced and often older local community members that want to give something back. These individuals receive extensive training plus certification as a nursing assistant, medical assistant or community health worker.1

The program aims to improve access to primary or chronic care, (especially in rural areas), reduce congestion in clinics and hospitals by caring for people at home and educate care recipients in preventive and self-care.

Members of the ‘corps’ are typically employed by a primary care clinic and may be part of a patient-centered medical home. They are supervised by nurses and function as nurse ‘extenders.’ Each member helps care for 200-250 families and attends to care recipients in their homes, treating primary care conditions.

Early results indicate a fall in visits to clinics and emergency clinics of around 60-70 percent, while cost per encounter was estimated at just US$17, compared with figures of US$175-200 for clinic visits.

Transitional/chronic care members can also accompany the patient home on the day of discharge and make daily visits to those with chronic diseases, to achieve a targeted 25-50 percent reduction in 30-day readmissions.

1Grand-Aides: The Program, Grand-Aides, 2012
Accessed 19 November 2012.


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