In Case You Hadn’t Noticed, Homeless People Are Not Very Healthy – Medical Respite for the Homeless

Much of the conversation in our monthly Network meetings and discussions within the City of Lowell’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness – is the issue of discharge (or lack thereof) of homeless men and women from medical facilities. In most cases, homeless men and women are discharged “to the streets” from health care facilities (either dropped off in an ambulance or sent by cab) with a need for a greater level of care than the homeless shelter can provide. most cases these very same medical discharges wind up back in the hospital a short time later (and again, and again and so on) without ever having addressed the original ailment to its fullest.

To the other extreme, there are homeless men and women who are kept inpatient for months at a time because there is no place to discharge them and brings with it a TREMENDOUS expense to the taxpayer.

SO, as I meandered around the internet today, I ran across this article from the LATimes

After the hospital, a haven for

homeless patients to recuperate

which of course brought to mind a recent discussion around homeless medical respite programs that are “local” (or not) to the Merrimack Valley. The closest facility of this nature is the Barbara McGinnis House, located in Boston and run by Boston Health Care for the Homeless

Boston Hospitals got together long ago to come up with an alternative to long term (expensive) inpatient care of homeless men and women. Why are we, in the Merrimack Valley region so far behind the curve ball on this element of care?

It is FAR LESS costly and HUMANE to provide this type of care, rather than discharging sick men and women (the hospitalization cycle – rinse, repeat + rinse, repeat = costly) or keeping patients for extended periods of time (= mega-costly).

It is to the benefit of our medical institutions across the Merrimack Valley to partner with providers in our communities to come up with the solutions that are beneficial to everyone’s “Bottom Line”.


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