Sharonda recalls the story of Robert who was in need of extra healing time after a hospital stay but who had also expressed an interest in conquering his substance abuse issues. As an individual who was without a home, Sharonda knew her patient could qualify for recuperative care, but would that be enough to keep him healthy and safe until room became available at a substance abuse program?
As a social worker at White Memorial Medical Center, Sharonda is one of the point people who, at the end of a patient’s stay in the hospital, sees to it that they are safely discharged. When a patient is discharged and they do not have a home to return to, Sharonda finds alternative solutions based on the patient’s most pressing needs. Some times the needs and the available services do not synch. Robert was a candidate for recuperative care and for the substance abuse program, but there was a significant gap between when his stay in recuperative care would end and the substance abuse program could take him in. The risk Robert was facing was a return to the streets and possibly missing the opportunity for the rehabilitation that he wanted to receive.
As a National Health Foundation Pathway Recuperative Care hospital partner, White Memorial Medical Center works hand in hand with Pathway staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for each client. For Robert, Pathway staff advocated on his behalf and they were able to secure additional time for him to stay at Pathway until a space became available for him at the substance abuse program.
Sharonda has found that many of her patients are not connected to the resources available, “The hospital routinely serves patients that have recently travelled to LA and are unfamiliar with the systems and how to access resources. I assist them by connecting them to the resources they need upon discharge.” Navigating the many programs and options has given Sharonda a unique perspective on working with this vulnerable population, “ While it gives me comfort knowing that in recuperative care they are continuing to receive assistance during this moment in their lives, I would like to see an ongoing collaboration of agencies working together to close the gap in services and needs of our homeless population.”
Robert’s story is one with a happy ending. He recently completed his 90-day rehabilitation program.