Established in 2008 as the Fire Department’s social response initiative, the primary goal of the CARES Team is to improve quality of life and reduce unnecessary use of the emergency health care system by addressing a client’s needs based on the social determinants of health.
Many times, Fire Department personnel encounter an individual who has significant needs apart from their physical health needs. When they encounter these situations, Fire Department EMS providers make a referral to the CARES Team requesting a follow-up visit. The CARES Team Manager then assigns team members, comprised of Eastern Washington University School of Social Work students, to visit the client referred by the firefighters. The Team makes contact with the client and completes a thorough social service needs assessment. The Team develops a plan for connecting the client with community resources that address his or her needs. The CARES Team advocates on behalf of the client and assures that connections are in place to help the client improve their quality of life.
In 2018, the CARES Team: