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Front. Med. | doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00048

A Volunteer Program to Connect Primary Care and the Home to Support the Health of Older Adults: A Community Case Study

Doug Oliver1, Lisa Dolovich1,  Larkin Lamarche1*, Jessica Gaber1,  Ernie Avilla1, Mehreen Bhamani1 and David Price1
  • 1Family Medicine, McMaster University, Canada

Primary care providers are critical in providing and optimizing health care to an aging population. This paper describes the volunteer component of a program (Health TAPESTRY) which aims to encourage the delivery of effective primary health care in novel and proactive ways. As part of the program, volunteers visited older adults in their homes and entered information regarding health risks, needs and goals into an electronic application on a tablet computer. A total of 657 home visits were conducted by 98 volunteers, with 22.45% of volunteers completing at least 20 home visits over the course of the program. Information was summarized in a report and electronically sent to the health care team via clients’ electronic medical records. The report was reviewed by the interprofessional team who then plan ongoing care. Volunteer recruitment, screening, training, retention and roles are described. This paper highlights the potential role of a volunteer in a unique connection between primary care providers and older adult patients in their homes.

Keywords: volunteerism, Primary Health Care, Aging, interprofessional health care team, older adults

Received: 12 Dec 2017; Accepted: 08 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Jeremy M. Jacobs, Geriatric Rehabilitation, Hadassah Medical Center, Israel

Reviewed by:

Mario U. Pérez-Zepeda, Instituto Nacional de Geriatría, Mexico
Marios Kyriazis, ELPIs Foundation for Indefinite Lifespans, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Oliver, Dolovich, Lamarche, Gaber, Avilla, Bhamani and Price. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Larkin Lamarche, McMaster University, Family Medicine, Hamilton, Canada, lamarche@mcmaster.ca