Providing 1:1 Patient Support – Upward Health’s Care Specialist
At Upward Health, our physician-led Care Team treats the physical, behavioral, and social health needs of our patients when and where needed. A cornerstone of our multidisciplinary model is ensuring each patient has a dedicated Care Specialist, often a community health worker, peer support specialist, or medical assistant, to provide 1:1 support and partner with them in their treatment journey.
This partnership is rooted in a relationship of safety and trust. We understand that many of our patients have felt isolated in and even mistreated by the existing healthcare system, and part of a Care Specialist’s role is to create a different experience for our patients. Care Specialists work with patients for the duration of care, so they are not receiving an ever-changing set of staff, needing to repeat their health history over and over. Care Specialists listen and learn to understand their daily health and life challenges, often meeting weekly with them in their home.
Our patients view their Care Specialist as their advocate, and many go as far as describing them as a family member. They often reside in the same community as our patients, sharing the same language and cultural beliefs. We have had several patients request their Care Specialist be with them at their bedside at the end of life.
It is the strength of these relationships that help motivate change – from organizing medications each Sunday to contacting a mentor when experiencing a craving. These behavioral changes become significant health improvements. If asked, most patients would point to their Care Specialist relationship as the reason their treatment at Upward Health has been such a success.
“Melissa, my Care Specialist, has made me feel not all alone. She’s the foundation of it all. I feel like she’s on my side, that we’re a team working together so that I can have better health – a better functioning life.”– Joann, Upward Health Patient