Michelle Adyniec, Dayna Fondell, & Jeneen Skinner
Michelle Adyniec, RN, BSN, Clinical Manager,Care Management Initiatives
Dayna Fondell, MSN, RN, Senior Manager, Clinical Redesign Initiatives
Jeneen Skinner, LPN, Senior Clinical Manager, Care Management Initiatives
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
Camden is a ten square mile city in New Jersey with a population of approximately 80,000 people. It is home to the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers—aka the Camden Coalition—an innovative non-profit organization that builds partnerships to improve the health and well-being of people with complex health and social needs. The Camden Coalition operates care management programs, hosts the Camden Coalition Health Information Exchange, and engages in care redesign with local partners.
The Camden County Department of Health, Volunteers of America, and the Camden Coalition partnered to provide temporary housing in a hotel for people experiencing homelessness who were awaiting COVID-19 test results, or who had tested positive and were required to quarantine. Three nurses from the Camden Coalition, Jeneen, Michelle, and Dayna, provided medical care for individuals staying at the hotel.
How did you go about providing care for people temporarily living in a hotel?
Michelle: “As a nurse, it’s in our bones to think about how to keep people safe. My first thought was, how do we keep people safe while living in a hotel, and how do we reduce harm?”
Jeneen: “We divided up calling each one of our community partners every day to give them an update about how things were going for individual patients, but also overall. It was a lot of work, but it was important to keep collaboration going for our patients.”
What innovations did you see emerge?
Dayna: “As a result of the pandemic, national policy changes allowed for virtual initiation of buprenorphine/suboxone. This change not only impacted our ability to make sure patients in the hotel had the Substance Use Disorder support they needed, but it also has broad impacts across our community. The response to COVID in general has created an opportunity for many providers to think more about harm reduction, and how access to buprenorphine may be helpful to people wherever they are along their addiction journey. We do not know what long-term changes will come from this, but it will be interesting to see it evolve.”
Michelle: “There’s such a push for nurses to become mini-doctors, but we’ve got skills as nurses that we can develop on our own. As a nurse on the floor, you’re expected to be the point person for a patient’s care. It’s natural to collaborate with everyone. We know how to pull people together. I wish nursing would cultivate and teach that skillset more.”
What gaps became clear to you?
Michelle: “It’s amazing to me anyone ever gets medication. The hours of calling to follow up about medication was the most time-consuming part of the care coordination we did for people.”
Jeneen: “Where are all the mental health services?”
Dayna: “We pulled together housing for people who needed it; why can’t we do this when there’s not a public health emergency?”
What helped you to make it through the long hours?
Jeneen: “I had to address my own fears about engaging with people who potentially had COVID. We had to lean on each other. On the days that I thought I couldn’t keep going, Michelle and Dayna would be there.”
Michelle: “The ‘sisterhood of nursing.’ As a fellow nurse, Jeneen understood better than anyone. Talking to her at the end of the day was a lifeline.”
What is the story you think needs to be told after being on frontlines over the last few months?
Dayna: “We saw the willingness to collaborate across the board. This crisis created a sense of community.”
Jeneen: “What does a person need to stay well? It took an entire community to keep people well. The Camden Coalition couldn’t have done this alone: social services, primary care offices, specialty offices, pharmacists, transportation, food—it took everyone.”