Program Development Award
Care of the Vulnerable Elderly (COVE) Program
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Family and Community Medicine
UT Southwestern’s COVE program (Care of the Vulnerable Elderly) was established in 2015 to serve patients ages 65 and older.
Led by Dr. Namirah Jamshed, Associate Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Family and Community Medicine, COVE provides primary care for patients both at home and in assisted living facilities. These patients are referred by a UTSW clinic because they have difficulty performing daily activities or are challenged to come to their providers’ offices for medical appointments. COVE-provided care also helps alleviate some caregiver burdens.
Started with just 70 patients, the program today delivers care to nearly 350 seniors who live within 10 miles of UT Southwestern’s campus. Care is provided by an interdisciplinary team that includes geriatric-trained physicians, nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, a licensed social worker, and a clinical coordinator.
Proof of the program’s effectiveness is shown in the numbers: a reduction in Emergency Department visits, hospitalizations, and outpatient visits. One analysis indicated that compared to similar patients who did not receive home visits, UT Southwestern COVE patients had 12 percent fewer emergency room visits, nearly 35 percent fewer hospitalizations, almost 17 percent fewer readmissions, and 29 percent fewer specialist visits.
Because of its impressive success, UTSW’s COVE program has been invited to help develop national benchmarks for elder care, one of only nine programs tapped to participate in the effort by the Learning Collaborative for Home-Based Medical Care.
In her words: “The COVE team is humbled and honored to receive this award. We aim to provide high-quality patient care to the most vulnerable of our patient population. This requires not only an interdisciplinary approach but also significant collaboration with our specialists and patient caregivers. The program’s success is a reflection of hard work among the team and support from leadership. Central to this success are our patients and caregivers, who trust us with their care and allow us into their homes. The COVE team will continue to work above and beyond to provide the highest-quality care to our patients, as a reflection of the care provided throughout UT Southwestern.”