Many community-based resources exist to support the health and well-being of the population, as well as the social determinants of health such as physical activity, transportation, caregiver support, falls prevention, and self-management. Consultations with health planners, providers and other stakeholders identified that there is a lack of awareness about these resources and they are underutilized.
Dr. Simone Dahrouge of the Bruyère Research Institute is the principal investigator of the Access to Resources in the Community (ARC) research project, which aims to optimize equitable access to community based resources (CR) for primary care patients experiencing social challenges, including Franco-Ontarians living in minority situations. She and her team are currently researching whether ARC Patient Navigators can help individuals facing social challenges overcome access barriers. The ARC intervention involves:
"Patients who need health and social resources the most are those that have the most barriers accessing them."
Dr. Simone Dahrouge
In a feasibility study performed by the team, their ARC Navigation services were rated good/excellent in most cases. These positive experiences were supported by comments provided by patients helped by the service:
“She seemed to understand the ins and outs of disabled life – the little things that are difficult. I found that very validating”
“She offered to fill out the forms over the telephone for me. Her doing that for me seems simple, but it was a really big help.”
To further test the ARC Navigator Model the team recently began a randomized controlled trial in Ottawa and Sudbury. In this phase of the study, patients randomly assigned to the control arm will receive information on Ontario 211, an electronic and telephone navigation service. Patients allocated to the intervention arm will receive Patient Navigation services.