While staying at Christ House, some patients need additional medical tests and care from area medical service providers. As many of us know, doctor’s appointments can sometimes be challenging experiences. Explaining your medical condition can be difficult, undergoing tests can be frightening, and absorbing medical diagnoses and instructions can be overwhelming.
For these reasons, Christ House sends escorts with patients, as needed, to offer support, advocacy, and to ensure that medical information is properly transmitted between external medical providers and Christ House staff. Escorting also provides a unique opportunity for staff, volunteers, and Kairos Program members to build deeper relationships with patients.
John Craig, Christ House Clinical Support Manager, says that patient escorts play a valuable role as advocates for the best possible treatment and care of patients, especially when escorting those with a mental illness or a physical disability.
A few year-long volunteers, nursing assistants, and Kairos Program members all act as patient escorts. Christ House sends escorts on an average of five appointments each week.
Glenna Wong, a year-long volunteer who served as the Patient Support Assistant, recently escorted a patient to an appointment to have a diagnostic test completed. This patient had recently refused an MRI due to fear of the test, so our medical team determined that the presence of an escort might give him the courage to go through with this test. He was, once again, agitated and not responding well to the doctors. However, Glenna assured the patient that the test would help the doctors to better understand his medical condition and that they would return in time to eat lunch at Christ House. The patient was then able to go through with the test.
Larry Wiggins first came to Christ House as a patient and is now a Kairos Program member. He serves as an escort two days every week. Larry sees his time as an escort as an opportunity to get to know patients and share his own story. He hopes that patients will be able to identify with his past struggles and will be encouraged to make the most of their time at Christ House. Larry says that being an escort “isn’t something I have to do, it’s something I want to do.” He is thankful for the opportunity to help patients and give back to the Christ House community.
We knows that patients have many obstacles to overcome and offering patient escorts to those who need them is one way that we can walk the extra mile with them in their journeys to health and wholeness.