Increasing Linkage to HCV Care Following Trauma-Informed Rehabilitation: An Education and Quality Improvement Project Among Women

Author: Agustina Crespi Helen Lathouris Chelsea Masterman Kody Muncaster Rafique Van Uum Kayla Gaete Camelia Capraru Hemant Shah Jordan Feld Mia Biondi Jordan

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

Background: Women infected with HCV may have difficulty accessing healthcare. From 2019-2020 our
team provided HCV testing and treatment in a residential trauma-informed drug treatment centre for
women in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. However, many were lost to follow-up upon leaving the
centre. The aim of this work was to evaluate an HCV educational program and determine women’s
preferences to receive follow-up care.
Methods: From October 2021 to April 2022, a 30-minute educational session was delivered, followed by
a questionnaire. The questionnaire included demographics, interest in general healthcare, preferred
contact methods, motivators for seeking care, HCV, and an evaluation of the education session.
Results: Seven groups of 8-19 women attended the session, with a 78% uptake for survey completion,
for a total of 62 women. Median age was 34. Of those surveyed, 88.5% identified that they struggle with
drug or alcohol dependence; 83% with mental health challenges; and 67% had never been in a drug
treatment prior. Most (88%) identified their primary mechanism to receive healthcare is a primary care
provider, but 68% preferred to work with a case worker familiar with their history. Most stated a
preference for contact via text (65%), followed by e-mail (35%). Gift cards were identified as an incentive
(73%), as was providers being non-judgmental (88%) and responsive to questions (71%). 72% of women
reported having been tested for HCV in the past, and while 64% had no concerns about treatment, 28%
stated the lack of symptoms made it less of a priority. After the education session, most respondents
expressed increased motivation to seek HCV care (80%) and increased knowledge of risk factors and
treatment (83%).
Conclusion: Although collection is ongoing, our data suggest that there may be preferred mechanisms
for women leaving rehabilitation to be engaged for both general, as well as HCV care.
Disclosure of Interest Statement: CM reports receiving clinical consulting fees from Omega Specialty
Nurses. KM reports receiving consulting fees from Specialty Rx Solutions. MJB reports receiving research
support and consulting fees from AbbVie, Gilead, and Specialty Rx Solutions. HS reports receiving
consulting fees and research support from AbbVie and Gilead. JJF reports receiving research support and
consulting fees from AbbVie and Gilead. This study was funded by a Connect-C grant from Gilead

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