Proactive vs. Reactive Care

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A CHW shaking a man's hand on the street.

Do CHWs provide proactive or responsive care?

  • Many stakeholders think of CHWs in limited terms, mainly outreach (proactive)
  • Many CHWs also are assigned to patients or receive referrals (responsive)
  • Roles touch entire continuum of care



Many of the stakeholders with whom you may be dealing will have been exposed to CHWs only in their outreach role, which is proactive and population based. CHWs in this role have limited responsibility for relationships with specific individuals or families.

However, one area for growth in CHW activity is in ongoing work with specific patients and families who are assigned to a CHW by another member of the patient care team. In contrast with the proactive outreach functions, this area of activity might be considered responsive, to the specific needs of identified patients and families and to requests for support from others on the clinical team. It allows CHWs to be involved in the entire continuum of care.

The next slide depicts this range of CHWs’ roles as they relate to the conceptual model of the continuum of care.