Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Men, Two Paths

Arnie and Mat arrived at National Health Foundation’s (NHF) Pathway Recuperative Care from partner hospitals in early December 2016. Both were in need of additional medical supervision and both were homeless. The similarities in their cases ended there. The task of delivering essential care and helping the two men find stable housing required an individualized plan that took into account their stories, their needs and their goals.

Arnie's multiple chronic medical conditions require monitoring and medication, both of which are challenging to maintain on a modest monthly social security check. He found himself unable to pay for rent and his condition deteriorated until he needed to be hospitalized. Upon discharge from the hospital he was homeless and in need of follow-up care. At Pathway Recuperative Care, Arnie worked closely with staff members on his care plan. This plan looks at the patient’s needs both medically and with respect to housing. Staff then began connecting Arnie to services available to him via the Department of Mental Health as well as medical services to ensure continuous improvement on both fronts. With Arnie’s motivation and Pathway staff persistence, he was able to secure stable housing that will ensure a sustained return to health.

For Mat, the struggle was no less intense. He came to Pathway Recuperative Care from a partner hospital with no money, no identification and no home. Struggling to recover from substance abuse, the 20-year-old had spent years in the foster care system and found emancipation to be more difficult than he had the skills to cope with. Upon arriving at Pathway Recuperative Care, the staff worked with Mat to reapply for General Relief, obtain a replacement Electronic Benefit Transfer card and kept him proactive in attending the necessary medical and social services appointments that would ensure his return to health. The last piece of Mat’s health plan was to secure stable housing.  Mat’s stable housing is such that he will receive the support he needs to maintain his health while acquiring the skills he needs to navigate adulthood.

For Pathway Recuperative Care staff, each patient has a vastly different set of circumstances that has led to the decline in their health and the loss of their home. “Each person who comes to Pathway is seen as an individual with distinct health needs. We take the time to understand their history and work with them to devise a plan that matches their needs and capacity for managing their progress to sustained health," explained Kelly Bruno, MSW, President/CEO National Health Foundation. For Arnie and Mat, the prospect of an end to homelessness was welcomed with large grins and a sense of accomplishment. “We find it impossible to speak about health without addressing the most fundamental social determinant of health: housing. Without a home, there can be no health,” asserts Bruno. With secure and supportive homes both Arnie and Mat can now turn their attention and energy towards their healing and health.

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