The Richmond Health and Wellness Program (RHWP) is an innovative, value-driven collaborative care coordination model that seeks to improve health outcomes of communities, enhance the lives of individuals, decrease health care costs, and educate future practitioners.
Initiated in 2012, RHWP targets vulnerable older adults and disabled adults residing in low-income housing settings. RHWP and the community recognized a shared vision of bringing services to individuals at their place of residence, with unmet social determinants of health often impacting health and daily living. The model currently operates one or one-half day a week in each of five housing buildings. During wellness program sessions, students, precepted by faculty from the VCU Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Social Work, as well as the Departments of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Psychology, meet with individuals to understand each one’s health or social concerns. In the Fall of 2019, law students were added to the program as we develop a medical-legal partnership.
Individuals, students, and faculty develop a collaborative plan of care customized to the health conditions, social needs, and resources of each individual, with the goal of developing longitudinal relationships with community residents. A large focus of program activities is centered on assessment, chronic disease monitoring, wellness coaching, and providing care coordination to ensure individuals can access the services they need to remain independent in the community.
The program has developed specific expertise in addressing advance care planning, food insecurity, issues related to falls and mobility, screening for behavioral health issues including depression, anxiety and cognition, high-risk medication usage, and risk reduction related to opioid use.
As of Fall 2019, approximately 1400 students have participated in RHWP, from the undergraduate through the doctoral level, with some students completing their dissertation work focused on community-identified needs. The Bureau of Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program has provided funding to support the training of students and faculty throughout the state at the RHWP sites. The program also is incorporated as a training site for the recent (June 2018) HRSA BSN workforce training grant, PIONEER, received by our school. In 2017 the RHWP concept was approved by the University as an iCubed cluster hire centered on Health and Wellness in Aging Populations to focus research on improving the lives of our community residents.
For more information on iCubed, please visit iCubed.vcu.edu