Frank, a 64-year-old Caucasian male, had a number of health issues that needed immediate attention, but he was facing an even larger issue than his failing health: he was homeless. For most of us who do have a place to call home, it is highly likely that we have a doctor, dentist and perhaps an urgent care clinic in our neighborhood that we feel we can turn to in the case of need. For the homeless, these basic needs fall to the wayside until an urgent health matter makes finding appropriate care a necessity and a challenge best tackled by a group of caring individuals.
When Frank came to National Health Foundation’s (NHF) PathwayRecuperative Care facility, he had been discharged from White MemorialHospital, a local partner hospital, and was in need of follow-up care. Denise, the LVN on Pathway’s staff immediately began the process of procuring a primary care physician for Frank at the Venice Family Clinic, knowing that Frank would need immediate support as well as prolonged follow-up for his chronic conditions once he was discharged from recuperative care. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Frank would need to see a specialist for surgery. This set in motion a flurry of activity that most individuals would not think are part of accessing urgent medical care: A specialist from KeckMedicine of USC agreed to perform surgery but insurance issues needed to be addressed. In the mean time, Pathway staff worked with White Memorial to cover an extended stay for Frank in recuperative care, knowing that his health would deteriorate if he needed to wait for surgery whilst living on the street. With an additional 4 months of support from White Memorial, the staff at Venice Family Clinic then advocated for the patient and procured both the insurance clearance needed as well as made sure that the surgery was scheduled in the shortest time possible. With Frank’s most urgent medical needs met, there was one thing left to do: find Frank a place to call home.
Frank was the beneficiary of NHF’s Bridge Housing, a program that allows patients to stay in recuperative care for recovery and for the time that is needed to find a permanent housing solution. In Frank’s case, NHF was able to procure permanent supportive housing for him and once his most pressing health needs are under control, he will transition home.
Frank’s case is not an isolated one. For every homeless individual there is a health story that is unfolding. Thanks to partnerships with area hospitals and clinics, NHF is able to provide dignified and holistic solutions to the complex care needs of our homeless neighbors.