CAREERS: Care Resource Coordinator

Posted by on Sep 2, 2020 in Careers

You may have heard of contact tracers. These are health care professionals who help people infected with COVID-19 identify others they have interacted with who may be infected as well. This information can limit the spread of the disease. Have you heard about care resource coordinators? These workers are equally important for keeping communities safe and healthy during the pandemic.

What Is a Care Resource Coordinator?

Woman talking on cell phone
Care resource coordinators need good organizational and people skills. Credit: ©David Schaffer/age fotostock

A care resource coordinator’s job is to contact people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and connect them with key resources to safely quarantine and stay healthy. For example, what happens when an infected person needs groceries or must go to work to pay the rent? Or what if they don’t speak English as a first language and don’t know what resources are available to them? Care resource coordinators combine the role of public health worker and social worker by connecting patients with what they need. They can order emergency food for the patient or help them apply for unemployment insurance. They might also provide cleaning supplies for families living with an infected person. Care resource coordinators may call their clients daily until the end of their quarantine period.

It’s estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of people who must be quarantined need some kind of assistance. This number is estimated to be even higher in low-income communities.

Education and Experience

Most care resource coordinators have a degree in social work, or some experience working in the social work field. It is also helpful for them to be familiar with the local health care system, community resources, and social services. They must have excellent interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills; a respect for cultural diversity; good judgement and critical thinking ability; and be comfortable using technology. It is also helpful to be fluent in at least one language other than English.

Job Outlook

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the need for care resource coordinators continues to grow. Many state governments and private institutions are setting aside funding for care resource coordinator programs. The state of California recently announced a $63 million partnership with  Kaiser Permanente and the Public Health Institute to provide contact tracing and care resource services.

Pros and Cons

As with many jobs in the health care industry, the job of care resource coordinator comes with both rewards and challenges. It can be very rewarding to work with people, to provide help to patients who may be sick or struggling, and to help improve a client’s quality of life. On the other hand, the job can be very demanding as well. Most care resource coordinators work nights and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules. And it sometimes can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook when faced with so many people in troubling circumstances.

What Do You Think? Based on what you’ve read, do you think the job of care resource coordinator would be a good fit for you? Why or why not?