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"We All had to Respond to the Pandemic and our Patient Needs": Social Workers' Perspectives of Integrated Healthcare Agencies' Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Suzie S. Weng, Joanna L. Barreras, Stacey Nguyen & Sara Nourazari
JHHSA, Vol. 45 No. 2, 97-117 (2022)

The COVID-19 global pandemic imposed many challenges to healthcare systems. Integrated health agencies deployed their own strategies to accommodate the drastic changes; however, the perspectives of essential workers in these settings are scant. This study focused on understanding how integrated health agencies responded to the pandemic in its earlier months from the perspectives of social workers providing services in these settings, as they are instrumental to the delivery of behavioral health care. A qualitative study was conducted using constant comparison analysis and the data interpreted from a social constructivist approach. Four main themes emerged: pandemic impact on continuity of service delivery, services, patient interaction, and areas of improvement. Findings from this study can assist in understanding how unique healthcare settings with a systematic coordination of general and behavioral health care responded to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and highlights opportunities to improve preparedness for future similar events.

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