COVID-19 Vaccine Assistance
TrustedRide-Certified (TRC) in collaborative effort with the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, as well as with St. Agnes Hospital (Ascension Health), Baltimore, MD, with Community Care Corps (HHS) funding, provides COVID-19 Vaccine Assistance, through the deployment of TRC Chaperones to provide scheduling, transportation assistance and follow-up comfort and care services to older individuals and adults with disabilities.
TRC Chaperones bridge the gap for vulnerable populations, patients with high no-show appointment rates and those with ongoing needs for transportation services. These populations face unique hurdles in signing up and getting to COVID-19 vaccine appointments. They also encounter significant hurdles in finding safe and secure transportation assistance to other medical services - including cardiac and cancer treatment, dialysis, and physical therapy. For medical procedures requiring discharge to the company of a previously identified responsible adult, the situation becomes even more acute.
High risk individuals are significantly more likely to follow-through on COVID-19 vaccines and medical appointments/procedures when utilizing a local network of fully screened and trained volunteer TRC Chaperones. These TRC volunteers assist with the technology related to scheduling and reminders for vaccines, perform ‘Virtual TRC Chaperone services’ to and from procedures, including safety checks that day after patients are home. When requested, TRC Chaperones accompany older adults and adults with disabilities to and from non-emergency medical appointments and procedures, in accordance with appropriate protocol and PPE, giving important support in embracing the well-known ‘first and last mile’ strategy.
“I would estimate 10% to 20% are at risk of missing out on vaccines because they’re homebound, live alone, don’t have transportation or lack reliable social connections,” he said. “Unfortunately, those are the same factors that put them at risk of poor outcomes from covid.”
Dr. Anand Iyer, a pulmonologist in Birmingham, Alabama, who specializes in caring for older adults,
TRC Chaperones, recruited from existing pools of agencies volunteers, can be integrated onto the readily available stream of transportation, including rideshare services and/or local community-based volunteer driver programs. None of the existing paid, public, or volunteer transportation options currently offer a chaperone service, often leaving patients on the sidewalk of either their home or the health care facility. Private door-through-door services are beyond the financial reach of many households. The lack of transportation options impedes service for frail older adults and adults with disabilities who need support getting from a curbside drop-off into health care facilities, and a safe and secure return home. Large buildings and campuses can be exhausting and intimidating for vulnerable patients to navigate on their own.
TrustedRide-Certified is scalable but first year services start typically with the delivery of 1,000 one-way chaperoned experiences (virtual/in-person) per year. TRC chaperoned rides
for each location in the initial year of the program which can be funded through several existing funding streams.
TrustedRide-Certified is rapidly scalable, adaptable and provides:
- A simple, yet effective, dispatch system to track requests for TRC Chaperones and allow each chaperone to select and schedule patient rides.
- Universal chaperone training for volunteer TRC chaperones with immediate notification to local healthcare providers and/or human service agencies when the training is complete, and a certificate of completion to each TRC Chaperone. (‘Virtual TRC Chaperones’ who assist with scheduling vaccine and other appointments will require additional training specific to local “patient portal” systems.)
- Highly visible and scannable credential and standardized uniform for each TRC Chaperone to ensure easy identification by patients and health care providers.
Current rideshare and volunteer transportation programs provide curb-to curb service. TRC integrates Chaperone services with existing curb-to-curb rides to provide door-to-door service, which helps patients achieve greater compliance with medical appointments - thereby improving health outcomes. TRC Chaperones provide peace of mind to older adults, and reduces social isolation while saving family caregivers missed time from work and reducing caregiver burden.
TRC Chaperones now support COVID-19 vaccines and medical appointments and procedures. After the pandemic, TRC Chaperones will continue to support the backlog of postponed in-person medical appointments, including dental visits, elective medical procedures and flu shots.