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St. Louise Regional Hospital Staff and Patient

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Stories of Impact

Support Services for the Unhoused

“David’s story is very special because it illustrates what the Medical Respite Program and the individual can accomplish together,” Sara Jeevanjee, MD, Medical Director of the Valley Homeless Healthcare Program (VHHP) said.

David was unhoused when he was admitted to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) for a severe burn injury on his foot. Once there, his care team discovered that David had poorly controlled diabetes and that it had led to significant damage to his nerves. It was for this reason that David had not been able to sense the heat from the fire that burned the skin of his foot.

After he was discharged, David was transferred to the Valley Homeless Healthcare Program (VHHP)’s Medical Respite Program, which provides a place for people experiencing homelessness to heal after they have been in the hospital. For these patients, there would be nowhere else to go if the Medical Respite Program did not exist. 

At the Medical Respite Program, a multi-disciplinary team not only helped David develop the skills to manage his diabetes and health, but to assess and address other physical, mental, and social needs. With the help of the program’s social workers, David was able to transition to a nearby shelter and eventually apply for permanent housing available for people experiencing homelessness.

David now has an apartment of his own and continues to receive care at SCVMC through the Hope Clinic, which helps to continue providing specialized primary care, behavioral services, and social support for individuals as they transition from homelessness to permanent housing.

David feels that the program saved his life. “They provided respectful, compassionate support that helped me want to take care of my health,” David said. “You can’t make somebody do good, but you can open a door for them and they can step through it on their own. That’s what I feel I’ve done.”