In the town of Tilaran, we had the chance to follow the ATAPs around a fairly new neighborhood to visit a handful of houses. The job of the ATAPs is to basically make house visits and assess the home, the people, and the environment around the home. They provide vaccines if need be, blood pressure screenings, and patient education.
One specific thing these ATAPs do is they place the family into a risk category system called the “Family Risk Classification for the Primary Care Program” The risk categories range from 1-3.
1 meaning that the family scored over 25 points based on 9 different classifications. The classifications for risk 1 include things like families that have no forms birth control, young pregnancies, children that are malnourished or anemic, families with a history of drug addictions, alcoholism, or family violence, illiterate parents, families with a one-year-old, or families living in the slums. If a family were to fall into Risk 1 they then would be visited 3 or more times a year based on their needs.
Risk 2 families who score between 15-24 points fall under a list of classifications that consist of having birth control methods, having children between the ages of 7-14 who dropped out of school, having untreated chronic diseases, having teenagers with children, living with a family member who is disabled, living alone over the age of 75, living in a risk area, receiving a pap smear over 2 years ago, or testing positive for TB. Based on these families needs they would be visited 2 times a year.
Families who fall under the Risk 1 category and score 2-14 points have certain classifications like living with a chronic disease which is under control, having the head of the family without an income, having a poor water supply and poor sewage systems, delinquent children, or simply families which do not qualify for Risk 1 or 2. These families would then be visited only once a year.
These ATAPs provide an extremely useful and beneficial service for these families who may not get an opportunity to visit the doctor’s office as much as they would like to. If need be, ATAPs can request emergency services to a family or provide the required vaccinations. Their main goal is the prevention of diseases and illnesses. All services provided by the ATAPs are free of charge through the social security system in Costa Rica.