In 1985, “Respite Care” was born as the health care community took on the challenge of providing acute medical services for homeless persons seeking a safe, secure place to recuperate from a physical injury or illness— providing the sick or injured a “respite” from the dangers of life on the streets. The defining factor separating respite services from simply providing 24-hour shelter-beds is the provision of medical services with nursing as a minimum. The HHRC program, a short-term (up to one year) specialized program provides the chronically homeless man released from the hospital with a physical injury or medical illness 24-hour-a-day acute and post acute care, the opportunity to rest while accessing hospitality and referral to community medical and supportive services that assist in completing recuperation and continuity of care when the resident returns to community housing.
Respite Center patients enjoy hospital style accommodations, a primary care medical clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner, Class D pharmacy, nutrition and substance abuse counseling, dietician prepared catered meals and transportation to and from medical appointments. The Respite Center’s staff of professionals, trained to oversee physician prescribed medication and treatment, supplements the patient’s basic needs with intensive case management, coordinating in-house resources with those available from community agencies. The City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) Bureau of TB Control provides Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) for TB patients.
In 2006, the HHRC provided long term recuperative care and supportive service for 84 unduplicated homeless men (including the 29 TB patients who received DOT therapy for tuberculosis).