The Stay Connected intervention is a comprehensive evidence-based behavioral intervention designed to increase retention in care for people with HIV (PWH). Retention in HIV medical care is defined as having two or more visits at least 3 months apart during a given year. This intervention requires all members of the healthcare team to deliver brief, positive, welcoming messages to all patients at the clinic. Clinical care staff (primary care providers and clinical support staff) deliver encouraging health messages to patients about the importance of staying in care. The intervention also designates a Retention Specialist to meet with patients experiencing barriers to keeping their appointments. The Retention Specialist focuses on establishing a relationship with patients through three (3) face-to-face sessions at the clinic and phone calls in between appointments and serving as a bridge between the patients and the healthcare providers. The intervention has designated an Administrator/Champion, Clinical Supervisor/Champion, and Intervention Coordinator to support the implementation of Stay Connected.
The Stay Connected intervention supports the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which is an ambitious plan to reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care, improve the lives of those with HIV, and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Stay Connected increases the likelihood that patients will engage in care and we know that once engaged in care, 93% of patients are prescribed antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART can help people with HIV live healthier, longer lives, and has been shown to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 96%. Eighty-one percent of patients prescribed ART become virally suppressed, which helps patients live healthy, longer lives and greatly reduces their chances of passing HIV on to others.
By the end of the training, Clinic Staff will be able to:
- Identify the goals of Stay Connected
- Describe the findings of the Stay Connected study and its impact on patient retention
- Explain the roles that clinic staff have in retaining patients in care
- Identify role-specific Stay Connected messages
By the end of the training, the Retention Specialist will be able to:
- Explain the importance of retaining PWH in care
- Describe components of the Stay Connected intervention
- Explain the role of the Retention Specialist
- Apply MI and strengths-based communication to build a trusting relationship with patients
- Utilize change talk and sustain talk communication to address ambivalence in behavior change
- Discuss key implementation aspects of Stay Connected which involve Retention Specialists