The average lifespan of Americans has been steadily increasing over the years, resulting in a growing number of adults that live to be over 65 years old. Older adults are also becoming increasingly diverse: this population is expected to transform from 7.9% to 22% Hispanic/Latino by the year 2060. As this population grows and changes, it’s important to identify and address their unique health challenges, to support safely and happily growing old at home.
The lack of access to information and services in Spanish can prevent many Latinos from seeking care. Many CHW-led interventions recruit bi-lingual members of the community, allowing for correct interpretation of information, effective education and a way to address stigma. More importantly, it allows individuals who face language barriers the path to express their mental health concerns without fear of misinterpretation.
Community Health Workers/Promotores(as) de Salud are well-situated to address mental health concerns in underserved communities. They act as a bridge between affected individuals and available resources. Community Health Workers combat stigma by educating and conducting outreach on mental health within the community.
In 2015, chronic diseases (those that are not infectious but rather have slow progression and long duration) accounted for over two-thirds of all deaths in the Pacific Islands. Tragically, 70-75% of deaths in the Pacific Islands are considered premature, occurring before age 60. There is clearly a demonstrated need for high quality, cost-effective healthcare services.
An exciting new insurance reimbursement opportunity in Indiana has recently been announced; this new development will create new funding opportunities for CHW programs in the state. The Indiana Health Coverage Program (IHCP), which includes all programs covered under Indiana Medicaid, added coverage for CHWs on July 1st, 2018.