Facilitators of Organizational Resilience Within South Carolina AIDS Service Organizations: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

AIDS Behav. 2023 May 29:1-12. doi: 10.1007/s10461-023-04089-x. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

HIV care services have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many states in the U.S. including South Carolina (SC). However, many HIV care facilities demonstrated organizational resilience (i.e., the ability to maintain needed health services amid rapidly changing circumstances) by addressing challenges to maintaining care during the pandemic. This study, therefore, aims to identify key facilitators for organizational resilience among AIDS Services Organizations (ASOs) in SC. In-depth interviews were conducted among 11 leaders, from 8 ASOs, across SC during the summer of 2020. The interviews were recorded after receiving proper consent and then transcribed. Utilizing a codebook based upon the interview guide, a thematic analysis approach was utilized to analyze the data. All data management and analysis were conducted in NVivo 11.0. Our findings demonstrate several facilitators of organizational resilience, including (1) accurate and timely crisis information dissemination; (2) clear and preemptive protocols; (3) effective healthcare system policies, management, and leadership; (4) prioritization of staff psychological wellbeing; (5) stable access to personal protective equipment (PPE); (6) adequate and flexible funding; and (7) infrastructure that supports telehealth. Given the facilitators of organizational resilience among ASOs in SC during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended that organizations implement and maintain coordinated and informed responses based upon preemptive protocols and emerging needs. ASO funders are encouraged to allow a flexibility in spending. The lessons learned from the participating leaders enable ASOs to develop and strengthen their organizational resilience and experience fewer disruptions in the future.

Keywords: AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs); COVID-19; HIV care facilities; HIV care service interruptions; Organizational resilience; Qualitative study.