Navigation Tips: Helping Patients Connect with Community Resources

Sep 11, 2018

Connecting people to resources through a clinical setting — and ensuring the success of those efforts — can be complicated. But it starts with what many hospitals and clinics do best: going deep to understand the needs of their communities and identifying paths to address those needs. National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) contributor Bonnie Thompson offers seven key tips to help identify and connect patients to effective community-based resources.

Navigation Tips: Helping Patients Connect with Community Resources

  • Ask other families for feedback on resources they have used to see what is available and effective in the community
  • Attend resource fairs to connect with fellow professionals and learn what resources they find helpful for patients
  • Consider atypical community sources like afterschool programs or faith-based organizations that offer different kinds of support for patients and families
  • Seek out parent or patient support groups that provide additional help for families with intensive needs or complex health conditions
  • Use online resource directories provided by local governments or non-profits like 2-1-1 to begin your search
  • Provide patients with specific contact information to improve the chances of successful connection with a resource
  • Follow up with patients to determine usefulness of or satisfaction with a resource — use electronic health records to track, where possible
  • Tap patient navigators to help strengthen community connections and guide patients through obstacles


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