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EFD, AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital expand community health outreach.

In its ongoing campaign to enhance its connections and service to the Evanston community, AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital Evanston and the Saint Francis Hospital Foundation have expanded the outreach of the AMITA/ Evanston Fire Department's ECHO program.

Launched in April, ECHO (Evanston Community Health Outreach) is a mobile integrated healthcare program designed to provide individuals at high risk for hospital readmission with free in-home medical visits, health education, social service referrals, home safety inspections, and other support resources.

The program, initially intended to focus solely on Evanston residents who use AMITA/Saint Francis Hospital's resources, will be expanded to ALL eligible Evanston residents, regardless of their primary health care provider or affiliation.

This expansion will allow vulnerable Evanston residents to proactively receive health and home safety education along with patient-centered healthcare support to help prevent chronic medical conditions evolving into acute medical emergencies.

The four-week program focuses on:

--Learning how to recognize true medical emergencies;

--How to access appropriate care outside of the emergency department:

--How to maintain and fill prescriptions; and

--Receiving home safety inspections to minimize household health hazards.

While mobile integrated healthcare programs are relatively new to Illinois, more and more communities are recognizing that socio-economic issues can easily exacerbate existing medical problems.

The ECHO program seeks to bridge the gap between social services and medical services, ultimately leading to a better quality of life for its residents.

"We're proud of this initiative and are so appreciative of Saint Francis' support to improve the health and well-being of some of our city's most vulnerable residents," said EFD Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Hays, who helped spearhead the program as part of the EFD's Strategic Plan.

"We worked closely with Saint Francis' EMS System Coordinator Sara Van Dusseldorf and AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital President Kenneth Jones, along with many others, to launch the program earlier this year. We are really looking forward to expanding our reach."

Fire Chief Brian R. Scott says, "This innovative and integrated approach has proven to better connect individuals experiencing chronic health issues with the care they need to improve their lives, while also ensuring the efficient deployment of Evanston Fire Department and community resources."

Funding for ECHO comes from the AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital Foundation.

If you or someone you know may benefit from the ECHO program please contact AMITA Nurse Navigator Zillian Harvey at (847) 316-6206 or to learn more and enroll.

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