Caring for the Homeless Community

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to take shape, Grady leadership, along with city, county, and state governments, and our community partners, quickly identified the need to address issues facing the homeless population. Those issues included how will we test the homeless and isolate positive patients who do not need hospitalization. Who will transport homeless patients who are positive?  How do we educate this population on what to do to stay safe?

To develop a plan, the governor created the Taskforce for the Homeless as a sub-committee to his COVID-19 Taskforce. Over March and into early April, Grady collaborated on the development of plans for testing, transportation, and isolation. Through funding from the City of Atlanta, Partners for Home established a hotel for COVID-19 positive patients and created an agreement with Grady to transport the patients to the hotel from all area hospitals and shelters. Partners for Home also established a non-COVID hotel for the most vulnerable of the homeless population, and Grady began referring to this hotel last week. We believe these efforts, coupled with a broad testing initiative led by Mercy Care that tested more than 1,500 people, and strict protocols for shelter access, have minimized the spread of COVID-19 in this population. We are grateful for these partnerships and for the teamwork needed to help the homeless population.

Proactively Caring for Those Most At-risk

By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and leveraging socioeconomic and clinical data insights, Grady has been able to identify those within our patient population deemed most at risk for poor outcomes from a COVID-19 infection, so that we can shift to a proactive pandemic response. With the help of medical students from both the Emory and Morehouse schools of medicine, Grady has been reaching out to these at-risk patients to provide them with COVID-19 preventative strategies to protect themselves and their families. Additionally, we are providing guidance with getting medications, appointment scheduling, and connecting them with community resources that could benefit them.

Protecting the Senior Community

To help ensure the health and safety of the senior community, Grady’s senior services team has collaborated with students from both the Emory and Morehouse schools of medicine to reach out to residents of long-term care facilities to provide them with any guidance or assistance they may need as they cope with the challenges that COVID-19 presents. Topics include physical and mental wellness, symptoms to watch for, preventative strategies, and how to order groceries online. Additionally, our team will help identify resident needs to connect them to the appropriate community resources.

Connecting the Community to Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to stress, uncertainty, and despair on many fronts. To address the variety of mental health issues people are facing these days, Grady includes an emotional and anxiety screening as part of our proactive patient outreach calls. Information gathered during those calls helps us identify patient needs and connect them to resources designed to provide support and comfort in these difficult times.

There are many resources available to all members of the community, including:

Georgia COVID Emotional Support Line    1-866-399-8938
Georgia Crisis & Access Line                     1-800-715-4225
CARES Warm Line                                     1-844-326-5400
(for substance abuse challenges)  
Peer2Peer Warm Line                                1-888-945-1414
(peer support for those living with mental health challenges)    

What Can I Do To Support Grady?

The best way to support Grady is to do your part to help reduce the spread of the virus, and the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. It is critical that we remain dedicated to doing so, and that we continue to avoid any unnecessary trips outside the home. If you do need to leave the house, make sure you follow CDC guidelines for social distancing.