A Free Resource for the Turner community—CHAT
After more than 2 years of analysis, planning and preparation, TFD is glad to announce the launch of CHAT, our Community Health Assessment Team! In cooperation with local hospital emergency departments and other healthcare stakeholders, we have identified a significant community need and we have created a significant community response—CHAT.
The Need. Every single day, a number of local residents come home from the hospital, and they feel vulnerable. Often, they live alone, or their spouse is unable to assist. Sometimes the doctor’s instructions are difficult to understand. Sometimes the new medications are concerning. Sometimes the symptoms linger. Sometimes the situation causes stress and sometimes these small issues eventually lead to an unnecessary trip back to the emergency room. In many cases, a careful response to the small challenges could have avoided a larger problem and an unnecessary trip to the hospital.
At the same time, there are many other residents who face declining health and while there is no emergency, they do need assistance in understanding their situation and contacting their doctor. What they need from TFD is not an ambulance ride. They do need a careful check of their blood pressure, blood glucose level and other vital signs. They might need help calling their doctor or maybe they need assistance following the doctor’s orders for simple wound care.
The needs vary greatly and while some of them do require a trip to the hospital, we believe that an organized community response could help our residents avoid many unnecessary hospital visits. Such a response program will save not only thousands of dollars in medical bills, but it will help reduce emergency room crowding. It will keep our local ambulance available for emergencies and in many cases, it will keep our residents at home where they can be comfortable and safe. Finally, our Turner ambulance is responding to more emergencies each year. Regularly, a local resident calls 911 for an ambulance and because our ambulance is already committed to another patient, we have to request an ambulance from a neighboring community. While our neighbors provide excellent service, there is an understandable delay. In some cases, that delay impacts patient outcome. If our Turner ambulance can minimize unnecessary hospital trips for non-emergency patients, we can maximize our availability for actual emergencies.
The Program. The CHAT (Community Health Assessment Team) is an organized group of TFD paid and volunteer medical professionals who are prepared to make scheduled home visits to community members experiencing non-emergency medical challenges. Residents needing CHAT support are referred by hospital staff, local doctors, concerned family members or by themselves. When a patient is discharged from the hospital and encounters confusion or difficulty, they are welcome to call TFD CHAT personnel who will gladly schedule a home visit.We can assist in understanding your doctor’s orders. We can help you understand your new medication. We can record your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, blood glucose level, etc.) for your doctor. We can help you with wound care and we are glad to assist you in calling your doctor for further consultation.
TFD personnel are NOT physicians. However, we are very glad to assist you and your doctor by providing very accurate assessment information for you to consider as you consult with your doctor and choose the best path forward. We believe that by assisting community members with these small challenges, TFD CHAT personnel will improve the quality of life for all of us!
The Process. It is easy! If you (or your relative) need to visit with a local CHAT professional, call the CHAT coordinator at (971) 368-9550. We will gladly schedule a drop-in visit at your home where we can check your vital signs, help you change your bandages, visit about your current medical situation and CHAT about a plan. We won’t arrive in an ambulance, but we will bring along our own equipment and supplies. We will listen carefully to your concerns, and we will document our visit very carefully in case your doctor needs accurate information for future treatment decisions.
The Cost. There is no charge for CHAT services. The Turner Fire District appreciates our partnership with our local hospitals, our dedicated volunteer & career EMS professionals, and our incredible community. When we all work together, we can provide amazing support to local residents who are experiencing difficulty. This high level of service is an important part of the TFD mission, and we are glad to be able to provide it at no charge.
If you or a member of your family would benefit from a CHAT, give us a call at (971) 368-9550. We will be glad to discuss our program and hear about your situation. Together, we will figure out the best way for us to assist you.