Montana Community Health Worker (CHW) Retreat Documentation
March 24, 2016

The following is a compilation of the outstanding group work completed at the CHW Retreat.  The information is organized into major categories/themes with their accompanying knowledge, ability, and/or skill.

  • Know CHW defined role and scope and those of other professionals;
  • Understand  practice/recognize boundaries and set personal boundaries;
  • Have self-awareness of CHW skills – know limitations;
  • Focus on patient– family centered care;
  • Know when to refer; have clarity on role regarding care planning, case management, and care coordination; have evaluation and observation skills
  • Be a trusted member of and have a presence in the community;
  • Be sensitive to and relate to the community culture;
  • Understand Montana’s diversity – east vs west, large/small, region uniqueness;
  • Have the ability to relate to people to gain access;
  • Demonstrate community and individual advocacy and be an advocate within the system;
  • Recognize disabilities and be adaptable; maintain safe environments
  • Understand cultural uniqueness;
  • Meet people where they are;
  • Be non-judgmental and open to diversity; know bridges out of poverty;
  • Be bilingual (community specific)
  • Be a bridge to community resources and act as a resource obtainer;
  • Have knowledge about systems of care – community connection, i.e., food banks;
  • Be able to collect data and translate information to providers; navigate with a goal
  • Possess basic insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) and benefits literacy;
  • Have the ability to connect with individuals and help them sign up for benefits;
  • Recognize hub and spoke linkages (systems)
  • Demonstrate effective and congruent verbal, written, and non-verbal skills;
  • Possess the ability to have conversations with a variety of people and with a broad spectrum of professionals;
  • Be able to move conversations forward and manage and navigate difficult communication;
  • Apply SBAR when appropriate; use active listening, motivational interviewing, and inquiry; provide appropriate feedback;
  • Be able to document and follow up on important information;
  • Be a persuasive communicator; have skills in conflict management and resolution; provide customer service
  • Build trust;
  • Be innovative and take initiative;
  • Demonstrate a positive demeanor;
  • Have time management and organization skills;
  • Be time sensitive based on recognition of patient’s needs;
  • Have compassion, be reliable and dependable, relatable, and patient;
  • Demonstrate empathy vs sympathy; have the ability to connect to emotions
  • Practice self-care and wellness,
  • Demonstrate self-safety;
  • Pursue empowerment and enablement;
  • Be self-motivated;
  • Avoid burnout and manage stress
  • Recognize and understand teamwork and team roles;
  • Be a healthcare team member; initiate and build relationships;
  • Collaborate through care coordination for patients and with other providers
  • Help assist with chronic disease management and education in chronic disease;
  • Possess mentoring skills;
  • Use SMART goals
  • Understand legal and ethical responsibility;
  • Have a working knowledge of HIPAA and PHI;
  • Have discretion and maintain confidentiality
  • There should be no direct care such as blood pressure/foot care;
  • Understand chronic disease, co-morbidities, mental health, prevention, and medication management;
  • Be health literate and have an understanding of medical terms;
  • Practice infection control;
  • Have knowledge about suicide prevention and crisis;
  • Have mental health first aid skills;
  • Possess a working knowledge of  CPR and first aid;
  • Understand human life span development and special needs (developmental and/or cognitive);
  • Recognize and follow up on nutritional needs, e.g., diabetes
  • Have basic skills using technology;
  • Have familiarity with EHR

The following are next steps as outlined by the group:

  •  Operationalize the CHW Role and Determine Funding for Role – Salary/Sustainability
  •  Affirm Community Need
  • Design and Build the Curriculum – Include an Organizing Framework and Measurable Competencies
  • Develop a Training Structure – Training Time and Requirements (e.g., academic expectations and additional credentials desired such as a driver’s license)
  • Establish a Career Pathway – For Example, Create CHW Levels