During these stressful and challenging times, self-care is essential, and that means continuing to look after your health.
Mary’s Center has found that virtual phone or video appointments with our providers are an excellent alternative to keep up with your physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We first introduced this concept of telehealth three years ago for individuals who couldn’t afford transportation to visit our health centers and whose chronic health conditions prevented them from leaving home.
Now that COVID-19 has shifted the way we are providing care, virtual appointments have proven to be an ideal solution to keep you—our participants—safe and healthy.
Virtual appointments not only prevent exposure to viruses, but also save you time and money without compromising the quality of your care.
When you talk to your doctor, therapist, or nutritionist from the comfort of your home, you don’t have to worry about paying for transportation, spending time getting to the health center, or sitting in the waiting room—your provider will be right there on your phone or computer at your appointment time.
Here are a few tips to make your virtual visit successful:
- If you have a reliable Internet connection, opt for a video visit instead of phone. Most appointments will benefit from the face-to-face connection.
- Find a quiet place for your appointment. Consider alternative locations like your car if privacy is scarce in your home.
- Keep a list of your current prescriptions and preferred pharmacy handy in case the provider requests that information.
What appointments can you have virtually? Virtually all of them—medical, dental, behavioral health, social services, nutrition, health education, you name it! Of course, if your provider decides that an in-person visit is necessary, we can still accommodate those at our health centers.
Learn more about the many virtual services at Mary’s Center:
Our medical team is experienced in providing care via phone and video appointments. When you meet with a Mary’s Center doctor virtually, they will listen carefully to understand what you’re going through, and then work with you to determine the best course of action.
We can address nearly all of your health concerns through virtual visits, including:
- Chronic disease management, such as finetuning diabetes or blood pressure control
- Acute symptoms like joint pain, headaches, chest pain, diarrhea, or nausea
- Screening for sexually transmitted infections
- Family planning
- Refilling prescriptions
As hospitals grow overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, keeping you healthy is our priority. If you have a new health concern, we recommend making a virtual appointment earlier rather than waiting until a condition worsens. For cases that still require in-person visits, such as prenatal and newborn care, we highly encourage you to keep those appointments and stay in regular contact with your doctor.
Our dental team is providing virtual appointments primarily to evaluate the severity of dental emergencies. If the dentist determines that your case is an emergency (e.g., loose or knocked out tooth, injured jaw, painful swelling or toothache, extreme tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums), they will schedule you for a visit in the office. They can also send prescriptions to the pharmacy if needed.
Our behavioral health team is providing their full range of services virtually, including:
- Therapy for adults, children, families, and couples
- Child and adult psychiatric medication management
- Community support services
- Support groups
- School Based Mental Health (list of partner schools)
If you do not have a quiet, private space for your therapy session, our therapists will work with you to find the best time and space for your session.
Our nutrition team can help keep your eating habits on track. Continuing your nutrition plan virtually offers the opportunity to learn self-monitoring and accountability by tracking your progress at home. You can record your own weight or body measurements, or instead focus on lifestyle changes to celebrate victories.
These are several of the nutrition services we offer virtually:
- Coaching to stay on track with established lifestyle changes
- Lifestyle recommendations for weight loss
- Meal planning and meal prep ideas, especially since food access is limited
- Ideas for reducing sodium and fat intake
- Troubleshooting and dietary guidance to reduce symptoms like elevated blood glucose, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea
- Meal planning guidance for gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose in the target range
We also launched a virtual mindful eating group, which can be especially helpful to gain support from others during this time of increased stress.
Our social services team continues to provide a variety of supportive social services to address the needs of our community during this time:
- Family Support: Through virtual visits, our Family Support Workers (FSWs) can help you access clothing, food assistance, education, financial assistance, employment/job training programs, legal services, mental health services, and more. Our team also continues to serve as a liaison across providers and agencies to ensure continuity or care, and we are still conducting prenatal enrollment visits to support healthy pregnancies.
- Domestic Violence Support: We know this time of isolation can increase the vulnerability of domestic violence survivors and those at risk, so we have expanded outreach and advocacy efforts to ensure support continues to be accessible. Through virtual visits, our Domestic Violence Advocate can provide case management, safety planning, legal navigation, shelter placement, and community outreach.
- Public Benefits: Our Bilingual Health Access Program (BHAP) and In Person Assisters (IPA) will walk you through the process of completing applications and selecting managed care organizations through virtual visits. They can also advance health insurance literacy, answer questions about active coverage, and provide updates about benefits extensions.
Our health education team continues to offer culturally humble and literacy level-appropriate education on the following topics:
- Blood Pressure
- Breast Health
- Colorectal Health
- Family Planning
- Respiratory Health
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Tobacco Cessation
- Weight Management
At this unprecedented time, we are also expanding our education around anxiety, sleep, and stress management, even leading breathing exercises over the phone! Our health educators can also send follow-up information like recipes and exercises via email, and they continue to coordinate care and make connections to other providers and outside resources.
During COVID-19, we encourage you to look after your health and take advantage of this innovative approach to care. Don’t wait—schedule your virtual appointment today by calling 844-796-2797 or filling out a form on our website.