Assess Your Readiness: Linking to Care
If a confirmatory test is positive, how will the ED link the patient to care? Processes and characteristics that can help facilitate linkage to care include:
- Infectious disease providers are proactively involved in the ongoing design, implementation, and evaluation of testing efforts.
- Disease investigation specialists from the health department are actively involved in tracking patients who are lost to follow-up.
- Same-day or standing appointments are offered at the referral clinic.
- Referral clinic is located in the hospital or on the hospital campus.
- Infectious disease provider assumes responsibility for linkage to care.
- HIV counseling and care providers are actively involved in posttest counseling and discussion of treatment and care options when a preliminary positive result is given.
- Confirmatory test specimen is drawn at the time a preliminary positive test result is given.
- Counselors accompany patients to clinic.
Processes and characteristics that impede linkage to care include:
- Those with the resources and expertise for linking patients to care are absent from planning and decision making about HIV testing in the ED.
- No referral site is part of or located near the testing site.
- No one is clearly accountable for ensuring that patients enter care.
- No or little patient contact information is provided in the ED.
- Data on patients linked to care are not collected or tracked by the ED testing program.
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