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Tim lost his home when his wife died last year. Since then, he has been homeless and living in a shelter. In the face of grief and housing instability, at 75 years-old, Tim struggled to manage his chronic health conditions. No longer able to follow-up with the specialists treating his heart disease and diabetes, he became increasingly vulnerable. He contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized for two weeks in isolation while receiving treatment for his chronic conditions.
Coming to Christ House directly from the hospital, Tim was weak and frail from weeks of illness and immobility. Today, we are providing him with a safe and supportive environment where he can rest and recuperate while receiving the medical care he needs. He works to build-up his strength each day and enjoys the social support and hospitality that Christ House offers. We have re-established care with his specialist doctors and are working to connect him with a long-term care setting.
Everyday, Christ House provides comprehensive, compassionate health care and social services to unhoused men in DC, and supports them in breaking the cycle of homelessness. Christ House's Medical Services Program encompasses both a 24-hour nursing care respite unit and permanent, supportive housing.
Patients, like Tim, with an acute illness or medical need are referred to Christ House for wrap-around medical care. Most of our patients are referred to us from hospitals (44 percent), DC shelters (18 percent), or the street (19 percent). Upon admission to Christ House's 33-bed respite unit, patients meet with a provider to share their medical history and undergo a physical exam. From this evaluation, a comprehensive plan of care is developed for each patient to ensure evidence-based health recommendations are enacted while promoting patient autonomy and self-care. Each patient's medical team includes medical providers (MDs or NPs), nurses, case managers, and substance use counselors. Common conditions for admission include fractures, wounds, burns, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, respiratory conditions, heart disease, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled hypertension, and post-surgical care. The medical team meets weekly with the patient's case manager and addictions counselor to discuss patients' treatment plans. Staff facilitates psychiatry and psychotherapy appointments for patients with mental health needs.
Of our 229 patients in 2019, ninety-seven percent had three or more conditions, including mental illness (36 percent of patients) and substance use disorder (58 percent of patients). In 2019, Christ House provided 9,228 patient-days of care, with an average length of stay of 37 days.
Christ House provides patients with individualized support. Case managers work with patients to obtain legal documents, apply for government benefits, ensure appropriate health insurance coverage, locate family members, and, as possible, secure housing upon discharge. In 2019, Christ House assisted 65 percent of the patients into a more stable living situation at discharge. Christ House also provides nutritious meals and snacks, patient transportation, and staff advocates at specialty appointments when needed.
Clinical staff and case managers may also refer patients to the in-house recovery program, New Day, which provides patients with a nine-week intensive course led by a certified addictions counselor.In addition to the services at Christ House, the Kairos permanent housing program provides former patients with supportive, community-oriented housing. The Kairos Program is comprised of former Christ House patients who have two or more chronic medical conditions. Currently, Kairos members range in age from 46 to 90 and have access to wrap-around services to assist them with managing their chronic health conditions and maintaining substance sobriety.