Get the latest news from the Respite Care Providers' Network!
Get the latest news from the Respite Care Providers' Network!

Medical Respite/Recuperative Care News

A Quarterly Newsletter for Members of the Respite Care Providers' Network
February 4, 2021

NIMRC Highlights

The NIMRC Medical Respite/Recuperative Care Program Directory contains descriptions of all known medical respite/recuperative care programs in the United States. In addition to being a resource to find programs in communities across the country, the directory also provides a way to identify the diversity and commonalities among  programs.
The State of Medical Respite/Recuperative Care Programs report presents a visualization of the data and highlights key features such as funding sources, affiliation with health centers, facility types, and staffing and services provided. The report can be used as a resource and to provide education on existing medical respite programs. Learn more under the "Leading Voices" section of the NIMRC website.

Letter to Members

Hello RCPN Members,

I hope you are all staying safe and well.

Five years ago, I joined the RCPN Steering committee. I became Vice Chair one-and-a-half years ago, and am now honored to be the new Chair. As a nurse and faculty member at the Duke University School of Nursing, I work to engage nursing and medical students in programs and research on social drivers of health, including housing and medical respite care. During my time with the RCPN, I actively worked in medical respite as one of three co-founders and leaders of the Durham Homeless Care Transitions (DHCT) program in North Carolina. I am currently leading in a robust program evaluation of DHCT.

In the time of COVID-19, the need for medical respite for homeless patients is glaringly evident. Hospitals cannot simply discharge patients into homelessness; there must be a plan. Clinicians can no longer ignore social drivers of health. Rather, they must assess to make sure every patient who comes through their doors has a safe place to recover upon discharge. While COVID-19 has ravaged our communities, it has opened up new doors for collaboration. I have observed numerous examples of communities coming together to provide access to testing and safe quarantine and isolation sites for people without a home to go to, while also working to increase access to affordable housing.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council, the associated National Institute for Medical Respite Care, and the RCPN are the preeminent authorities on homeless medical respite in the U.S. The Council has numerous resources and technical assistance available to facilitate care for homeless persons – one of the most marginalized populations in our country. I hope you continue to subscribe to the Medical Respite/Recuperative Care News, attend educational events, and be an active member of the RCPN. We need your voice!

In solidarity,
Donna J. Biederman, DrPH, MN, RN, CPH, FAAN

Kudos & Accomplishments

  • Thank you to Dave Munson, MD, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, for his leadership as Chair of the RCPN Steering Committee from July 2019-December 2020.

  • Thank you to the medical respite/recuperative care providers who have worked diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to provide services for clients despite the challenges this pandemic has presented!
If you would like to highlight your program or a respite/recuperative care provider in the next RCPN newsletter, please email Caitlin Synovec at

Respite in the News

  • Community Health Net, located in Erie, PA, was featured in local news for their participation in the NIMRC Medical Respite New Start Initiative Learning Collaborative. Participants in the Learning Collaborative are working towards developing and implementing a medical respite program in their community.

  • Health to Home, a new medical respite program in Dallas, TX, was highlighted in D Magazine on their two-year medical respite pilot project. This respite program is a result of community collaboration from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Austin Street Shelter, and CitySquare. 

Council Activities & Opportunities

Standards for Medical Respite Care Revision Committee

We are seeking volunteers to participate in a task group to update and review the Standards for Medical Respite Care.
The Standards for Medical Respite Care provide a framework for all medical respite/recuperative care programs, regardless of size or structure, to ensure quality care for consumers of medical respite/recuperative care programs. The Standards for Medical Respite Care are reviewed every five years to reflect current and best practices in medical respite/recuperative care.
We are seeking volunteers who are current providers, administrators, or consumers of medical respite/recuperative care programs to participate in the process of updating the Medical Respite Standards.
Persons are encouraged to join if you meet the following criteria:
  • Actively work within a medical respite/recuperative care program as a provider or administrator, OR
    A previous consumer of a medical respite program or a person with lived experience of homelessness;
  • Are able to commit to monthly group meetings and additional time for writing;
  • Be comfortable working with a group through Zoom (either computer or on the phone).
Time commitment:
  • Monthly Zoom meetings (accessible by phone or computer), February – July 2021;
  • Additional writing time within small groups to update and suggest revisions to the Standards.
Please reach out to Caitlin with questions and interest in volunteering.

Medical Respite and Local Continuums of Care (CoCs)

We are interested in learning more from medical respite programs that are engaged with their local Continuums of Care. If you are partnering with your CoC and are willing to share more about your work on respite and the coordinated entry process, please contact Julia or Caitlin.

Medical Respite/ Recuperative Care Focus Groups

As part of developing additional medical respite/recuperative care content and resources, NIMRC will be hosting focus groups in March and April to learn more about medical respite/recuperative care program structures, priorities, and key components of care. We are looking for program staff and providers who are interested in participating. Each participant would attend one focus group session scheduled for 60 minutes to engage with other providers around what matters in respite/recuperative care. If you are interested in participating, please email Caitlin at

Willie J. Mackey Medical Respite Award & RCPN Steering Committee Nominations

Nominations for the 2021 Willie J. Mackey Medical Respite Award and the RCPN Steering Committee will open February 17, 2021. Nomination opening will align with registration for the NHCHC National Conference. More information to come!

Save the Date

The Respite Care Providers Network all-member meeting will be on Thursday, March 4, from 2:30-4 p.m. EST. The meeting will include an update on medical respite/recuperative care and break-out sessions addressing COVID-19 vaccines, managing staff burn-out, and addressing the needs of clients in quarantine. Please click here to register.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Conference & Policy Symposium will be virtual in 2021. More information will be available later this month. Please check the website for updates and registration information for HCH2021.

Respite Care Providers' Network Information

  • If you are not already a member, please join the Respite Care Providers' Network (RCPN). The mission of RCPN is to improve the health status of individuals who are homeless by supporting programs that provide medical respite/recuperative care and related services. Follow this link for more information and learn how to join the RCPN.
  • Is your medical respite/recuperative care program profile in the NIMRC directory up-to-date? View the directory here and complete this form to update your information.
  • Does your program need technical assistance? Please contact Julia or Caitlin to request a TA meeting to help address your program’s needs!
  • Additional resources for medical respite can be found at
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