A Team of Support
Taking care of individuals, families, and communities.
Imagine having a care team that is available to help with your physical, emotional, and spiritual health needs, and is ready to provide high-quality care when you need it the most. For Equality Health members, this type of interdisciplinary care team is a reality. An interdisciplinary care team is a group of professionals who are each an expert in their own field. These professionals work together to provide patients with the whole-person care they deserve, caring for the body, mind, spirit, and environment. Working as a team results in more efficient and effective care, which benefits patients and their families.
This method of care also ties into Equality Health’s mission to end health disparities and improve the health of individuals, families, and communities. With an interdisciplinary care team, Equality Health can provide care for an individual’s physical and emotional health while considering their community, culture, and environment, and the influence of these on a person’s health and treatment plan.
The bilingual and bicultural care team at Equality Health consists of nurses, social workers, chaplains, community health workers, and care specialists. These professionals work together to care for all areas of health. “We know that oftentimes health is the last thing on people’s minds. So, we come in and take some of that weight off their shoulders,” says Liliana Ortiz, Equality Health Care Specialist.
That weight starts to be lifted as soon as a patient is discharged from the hospital. A nurse from the Equality Health Care Team will reach out to the patient to help provide medical treatment. Additionally, they will explain all discharge paperwork, coordinate the necessary medical supplies, and connect the patient to the rest of the care team.
With the understanding that mental health is just as important as physical health, nurses will often put patients in contact with the team of social workers and chaplains. The social workers help patients handle anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and any daily stressors.
Meanwhile, the team of Equality Health’s chaplains cares for a patient’s spiritual health regardless of religious or spiritual belief and practice. “Many times, we talk to members who live alone and don’t have a support system. Our chaplains support our members emotionally and in whatever faith or belief they may have,” explains Ortiz.
Often, a patient’s physical and emotional health is influenced by environmental and social factors. This is why the Equality Health Care Team also includes community health workers who can identify the areas where assistance is most needed and direct patients towards community-based organizations that can provide the necessary resources. This includes rent and utility assistance, food banks, recreational centers, and gyms.
Rounding out the care team are the care specialists who coordinate access to care. They are available to schedule doctor’s appointments, coordinate transportation, and provide the necessary technology for telehealth visits. Shannon Diaz, a Registered Nurse with Equality Health, explains the need for her Care Team members by saying, “No one teaches us how to make a doctor’s appointment. Nobody explains to us what a referral is. And sometimes people believe they don’t qualify or have access to these things.” The care specialists ensure that patients receive the attention, tools, and care they deserve.
The Equality Health Care Team is committed to supporting patients in whatever way they can. “We’re not just here trying to get them to complete healthcare services. It’s much more than that. We’re here to support them in their life, and we really care about their well-being,” Ortiz says.
Not only does the Equality Health Care Team care for the patient, but they also care for a patient’s support system; they understand that the well-being of the individuals who make up the support system can unconsciously affect the well-being of a patient. Patients can also reach the care team through a text message at any point of their health journey and a member of the Care Team will call the patient back to help supply them with the necessary resources.
Throughout it all, the Equality Health Care Team remains present. “We follow our members until all the needs; clinical, spiritual, behavioral and social, are covered. We are with them,” says Nora Lozano, an Equality Health Community Health Worker Supervisor. “And, after the member is able to overcome all barriers, our work is not done with them. We are still there for them.”
If your doctor is part of the Equality Health Network, you may have access to the Equality Health Care Team. Ask your doctor if they are part of the Equality Health Network, today. If you don’t have a doctor, find one near you using our provider directory, www.equalityhealth.com/members/providers/.
Published in Prensa Arizona, 7/29/2021