This week I’d like to share a bit about one of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte’s most impactful, yet least known, service. In 2009 we launched our Medical Respite component, based on a model developed in Boston that I had also worked with in Raleigh. You see, when a person experiencing homelessness is in a medical hospital and it’s time to be discharged, the hospital is not responsible for finding them a place to go. So, if a person came in off the streets they are most likely discharged to the streets. This is not a criticism of our hospitals, it’s just reality.
Men’s Shelter of Charlotte’s Medical Respite component [one of our 5 core components: Income/Housing/Supports/Severe Weather/ & Medical Respite] is designed to help hospitals with discharge planning so men experiencing homelessness will have a place to go immediately after leaving the hospital for further recovery. Men’s Shelter of Charlotte has 10 beds dedicated to Medical Respite and we remain more than 90% full at all times.
Here’s how it works. When any of our local medical hospitals is ready to discharge a man experiencing homelessness who also needs some additional recuperation assistance, the hospital completes a referral to Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. We work with the hospital to ensure that Men’s Shelter of Charlotte can meet his needs and we coordinate, before he is discharged, follow up appointments, medications, wound care, etc. We even schedule with the hospitals to bring home health care assistance into the shelter to assist as needed. Medical Respite lasts for less than 14 days, during which time our staff works with the person to determine their income path and housing plan. Its fairly common for us to have a man housed by the time his Medical Respite stay at the shelter is complete.
At Men’s Shelter of Charlotte we focus attention on each man based on our equation: Income + Housing + Support = An End to Homelessness. Medical Respite is a key component that keeps a man experiencing homelessness on the path towards housing while dealing with a critical medical event. Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is thankful for our incredible partnerships with Carolinas Healthcare System and Novant Health. Our hospital partners not only want to provide medical care for men experiencing homelessness, they also want to see them end their homeless experience – together that’s just what we’re doing.