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A feasibility study of primary care liaisons: Linking older adults to community resources

A.M. Boll, M. R. Ensey, K.A. Bennett, M.P. O'Leary, B.M. Wise-Swanson, A.M. Verrall, M.V. Vitiello, B.B. Cochrane, E.A. Phelan
Am J Prev Med

Introduction: Programs and services available through the aging services network can help community-dwelling older adults to age in place but are often not discussed in routine primary care. The primary care liaison was developed as a novel integration intervention to address this disconnect. Methods: Employed by an Area Agency on Aging, primary care liaisons performed outreach to primary care with the goal of raising awareness of community-based programs, resources, and services available to older adults and their caregivers and facilitating referrals. The evaluation of the primary care liaison model, conducted from December 2015 to February 2019, used the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance framework and assessed reach (number of clinics contacted), adoption (number of referrals to the Area Agency on Aging), implementation (number of follow-up contacts with a practice), and effectiveness (proportion of referrals reached and provided relevant resources). Results: The primary care liaisons contacted a median of 18.5 clinics per month (IQR=15−31). Primary care referrals averaged >100 per month, and referrals increased over time. Successful follow-up outreach visits had a median of 3 (IQR=2−10), and follow-up contacts had a median of 3 (IQR=1−7) per practice. Three quarters of caregivers for people with dementia reached by Area Agency on Aging staff were provided with information about relevant resources. Conclusions: The primary care liaison model is feasible, fosters ongoing interactions between primary care and Area Agencies on Aging, and connects older adults and their caregivers to relevant programs and services. Adoption of the primary care liaison model by other Area Agencies on Aging across the U.S. may help further the vision of optimized health and well-being of older adults.

Boll AM, Ensey MR, Bennett KA, et al. A feasibility study of primary care liaisons: Linking older adults to community resources. Am J Prev Med. Published online 2021. doi:

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