PRP177: The impact of COVID-19 on community resources in the greater Richmond area

Hannah Shadowen, MPH; Kristen O'Loughlin, MA, MS; Jennifer Hinesley, PsyD; Alexander Krist, MD, MPH


Context: Many patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCC’s) also have unhealthy behaviors, mental health challenges, and unmet social needs. Medical interventions provide limited benefit when patients are struggling to address these other needs. Health systems increasingly recognize the need to address these needs through connecting patients with relevant services offered in the community. We expect COVID-19 and mandates for social distancing to have a substantial impact on both the needs of patients with MCC’s and the availability of community resources to connect them to. Objective: To measure the impact of COVID-19 on the availability of community resources in the Richmond metropolitan region. Study Design: Cohort study Setting or Dataset: A comprehensive database of community resources in the Richmond region. Population: Community organizations that provide support services for health behaviors, mental health, and social needs. Results: We anticipate the number of community organizations’ available services to decrease, and due to reasons that include lack of funding, underutilization of services due to social distancing, staffing shortages, and temporary or permanent community agency closings. We also expect community organizations to report challenges with the transition of delivering services by phone or through video-based platforms. Conclusions: Community organizations that provide services in support of health behaviors, mental health challenges, and unmet social needs can improve community health. However, COVID-19 and social distancing mandates are expected to impact these organizations’ ability to continue operating. Fewer community resources will likely be available to support patients, though their need for such services are expected to grow. This loss of services may have harmful consequences for the overall health of patients with MCC’s. Therefore, it is important to understand the specific stressors and overall impact this pandemic is having on community organizations.

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