At Our Saviour’s Community Services, we know there is a strong connection between health and home. Access to healthcare improves housing stability, and housing is healthcare. We are proud to share that our 4-month medical respite pilot initiative has been extended through at least June of 2023. In partnership with M Health Fairview and with additional support from funders and donors, we will continue providing medical respite space and support in our emergency shelter.
Medical respite provides a safe place to heal, access services, and plan for next steps. Since February of this year, 24 people experiencing homelessness have benefitted from our medical respite space, case management, and care coordination. Our program has provided a place to recuperate after a hospital stay and offers a range of services and connections to resources.
Our residents come to us with a variety of medical histories and medical conditions. We offer opportunities for everyone to get the level of care they need, when they need it. In partnership with M Health Fairview, our shelter team is able to improve residents’ care coordination. Care coordination is important because it helps ensure the individual and their team are on the same page, working to support wellness together. As of July, M Health Fairview is providing on-site nursing to help with wound care, care coordination, and skilled nursing services for our medical respite residents.
Our pilot program participants can benefit from more than just medical services, too. Alongside healthcare support, residents have access to the same supportive services as all of our Emergency Shelter residents. Our team has assisted 5 residents in signing up for county benefits and helped 3 residents obtain identification documents needed to move into housing. So far, two medical respite clients have exited the emergency shelter to housing. We work hard to address the needs of the whole person, and in the months ahead, we will continue to build out supportive services, collect data, and refine the medical respite program.
During the program pilot, we have found many of the folks seeking shelter via medical respite likely haven’t accessed or interacted with homeless shelters before. Homeless service providers use a statewide database to improve services for people experiencing homelessness. During the first phase of our medical respite program, we created new records in that database for about half of all of our referrals. When we create new pathways, we meet new needs.
After just a few months of this initiative, we can tell you we are helping people to stabilize physically and holistically. We are helping residents address medical needs not normally met in a traditional shelter model. This work strongly aligns with the mission of Our Saviour’s Housing: We are a community of hope for those who need a home. Our mission is eliminating homelessness by providing shelter, support, and a chance to start over. La’Quadra Neal, the Our Saviour’s Housing Program Director, says of our medical respite residents: “They have a lot left to do, to live, and to contribute to the community.” We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of their journey towards greater health and well-being.