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Medical Respite Care & Alternate Care Sites

Resource Topic: Emerging Issues, Promising/Best Practices, Special and Vulnerable Populations, Clinical Issues

Resource Subtopic: COVID-19, Emergency Management, Community, Health, and Housing Partnerships, Programs and Services.

Keywords: Care Coordination , Housing, Infectious Diseases, Partnerships , Persons Experiencing Homelessness, Planning.

Year Developed: 2020

Resource Type: Publication

Primary Audience: Administrative Staff, C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs, CMOs, etc.) Health Center Staff Administrative Staff
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors Clinicians, Enabling Staff, Outreach Staff, PCAs

Language: English

Developed by: National Health Care for the Homeless Council (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: This issue brief is intended to provide health centers, public health authorities, emergency response systems, and Alternate Care Site program administrators with an operational framework that will improve the quality of care at ACS programs and promote longer-term stability for vulnerable people. Ideally, communities can retain this increased capacity for medical respite care after the pandemic subsides given the high level of need for these programs prior to COVID-19.

Resource Details: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, communities are quickly creating Alternate Care Sites (ACS) for people experiencing homelessness so they have a safe place to protect themselves from infection, await test results, and/or recover from the disease. These types of programs closely resemble an existing model of care known as Medical Respite Care,1 which provides acute and post-acute care for unstably housed patients who are ready for hospital discharge but are too frail to recover on the streets or in shelters. In some communities, medical respite programs are leading ACS program development. This issue brief is intended to provide public health authorities, emergency response systems, and ACS program administrators with an operational framework that will improve the quality of care at ACS programs and promote longer-term stability for vulnerable people. Ideally, communities can retain this increased capacity for medical respite care after the pandemic subsides given the high level of need for these programs prior to COVID-19.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,375,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.