Our transportation program makes medical care and community resources accessible
Christ House patients spend the majority of their stay in our building where our nursing and case management staff work with them to improve their health and strive for independence. We also provide a bed, clothing and toiletries, three meals a day, and uplifting activities.
There are certain services and treatments, however, which we cannot provide on site. These include medical and social services such as chemotherapy, optometry, surgery, and granting IDs. In order for patients to most easily access the care and resources they need, we provide door-to-door transportation for many of them through our patient transportation program.
Thanks to a group of generous donors who know the value of this important aspect of our work, we recently purchased a brand new Kia Sedona. It replaces our old van which logged many thousands of miles around the city over eight years and carried patients to countless appointments. The new van will allow us to continue this key piece of our mission even more efficiently, effectively, and safely.
Navigating public transportation can be a challenge for even able-bodied city dwellers. Many of our patients can neither walk long distances nor maintain their balance easily. Some must use aids such as wheelchairs or walkers. Others live with mental illness which can make catching the right bus, getting off at the right stop, and remembering appointment times and addresses a major challenge.
Additionally, patients sometimes attend medical appointments like chemotherapy or surgery from which they leave drowsy, in pain, or nauseated. Riding a train, bus, or walking long distances in these conditions would be extremely unpleasant.
We hope to lighten these burdens with the simple gift of a comfortable and friendly ride to and from appointments.
We also take patients to social service agencies around the city. Our Case Management Assistant, Sarah Hopkins, says that “we couldn’t make the amount of progress that we do with each patient without the van.” Many of the agencies that patients need to visit are difficult to get to from our neighborhood.
For instance, the Social Security office is a mile walk and Metro train ride away. To reach the Addictions Prevention and Recovery Administration – where patients must go to be assessed for programs throughout the city – requires taking a bus and train. The nearest DMV – where many patients go to get new IDs – is only accessible by taking two different buses.
“When trying to coordinate multiple appointments for a patient,” Sarah says, “saving an extra hour by not taking public transportation can mean the difference between making or missing an important appointment.”
We are incredibly thankful to have a Patient Transport Driver who understands the needs and difficulties our patients face on a daily basis. Our driver, Marquita Barnes, previously transported homeless individuals to area shelters in extreme cold weather for the city government. Through that experience, Marquita learned just how many people were experiencing homelessness, which deepened her desire to do more. In fact, some of our patients recognize her from those rides and are happy to see a familiar face.
“A big part of what I do is listen,” Marquita says. “When we’re driving around the city, some of the patients will get really honest about what they’re dealing with and how they’re feeling. They just want someone to hear their story, so I listen.”
The above article is from our winter newsletter.
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