Advocates Tout Respite Care Centers for the Homeless
Homeless advocates in California are urging local health officials to help establish temporary care facilities for discharged homeless patients to receive follow-up care after leaving hospitals, the Stockton Record reports.
When homeless patients are discharged from a hospital, there is no place for them to recover where medical staff can monitor their progress or medication schedules, according to the Record.
A report released in December 2007 by the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California argued that temporary care facilities, or respite centers, could help prevent hospitals from "dumping" homeless patients with acute health problems at shelters.
One such facility, in Sacramento County, was opened in 2005 through contributions from four county hospitals and the county government, according to the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF reported that a respite facility costs only "slightly" more per person than a traditional homeless shelter.
The hospitals and the county share the costs of providing medical supplies to homeless patients at the facility. Length of stay ranges from a couple of days to six weeks, depending on the condition.
Scott Seamons, regional vice president for the hospital council, said patients can be referred for follow-up care to local clinics that cover the costs (Thigpen, Stockton Record, 1/31).
CHCF publishes California Healthline.