Bob’s story found its way to our desk, tucked inside the 2018 Annual Report of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (YNHS). Bob, 78, was left early one morning at the door of the health center’s homeless services facility. He was wrapped in cardboard and a blanket. He had been on a harrowing journey between a hospital, rehab facility and shelter. When Yakima’s outreach staff found him, he was cold and disoriented, with no place to go. He was moved into one of the YNHS medical respite apartments for about a month, which allowed him to gain strength and skills in daily living. He was successfully placed in a memory care nursing home, where he can live as independently as possible but get help when he needs it.
Medical respite care is recuperative housing for people who are experiencing homelessness and need a safe place to recover, usually after a hospitalization. Studies show that homeless patients who accessed medical respite care required 50 percent fewer hospital admissions after their respite stay, versus those who did not have access to such a program.
Last year YNHS served 72 patients in respite housing with an average stay of 19.7 days. Now, YNHS is expanding the program, thanks to a grant from the Yakima Valley Community Foundation. Having a place to go not only helps people heal, it also saves money. The YNHS annual report notes that the average hospital charge for rehabilitation per patient was $29,166, which respite care lowered to $2,191.
Health centers like YNHS are problem-solvers and cost-savers. And the smile on Bob’s face pretty much says it all.
Thanks to our friends at YNHS for letting us share Bob’s story.