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

Respite News

A Quarterly Newsletter for Members of the Respite Care Providers' Network
October 24, 2023

NIMRC Resource Highlights

The Standards for Medical Respite Care Programs (the Standards) give direction for medical respite care programs to operate safely and effectively in providing care to people experiencing homelessness. The Standards were developed from the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN) and a community of medical respite providers to ensure consistency in the vital aspects of medical respite programs, despite the diversity in staffing, Models of Care, and partnerships. To supplement the Standards, NIMRC recently created the Standards Companion, a resource compilation that programs can use to align their delivery of services to meet the Standards.
The Standards Companion is comprised of three sections for each Standard:
1) NIMRC resources that directly relate to that Standard
2) Examples from existing medical respite programs
3) Links to external resources that relate to that Standard
Included in the Standards Companion are three newly developed resources:
The medical respite team remains open to the needs and ideas of medical respite programs! If you have questions or ideas for new resources, please contact us!

Letter to Members

Susannah King
As I reflect on the time together at the RCPN Steering Committee’s annual in person meeting in early October, I am filled with appreciation and admiration for the amazing work we’re all doing across the country. It’s always a lift to hear from other respite programs, and as always, I left with a full heart.
I have served on the RCPN Steering Committee since 2018 and am proud to serve as your chair for 2023-2024. I started my career with Hennepin County’s Health Care for the Homeless Program in Minneapolis, Minn, in 2000, holding a variety of positions over the years. In 2022, we opened a 30-bed stand-alone respite program and have been navigating the blessings and challenges of opening a new program.  
Additionally, I have been serving as Co-Chair of our Coordinated Entry Leadership Committee with our local CoC for the past three years and this has helped bridge the gap between respite and advocacy for housing opportunities for our consumers. I am passionate about this work, humbled to serve alongside you all and continue to learn and advocate for both respite programs and affordable housing.  
As we continue to unravel ourselves from the aftermath of the pandemic, I know many of us are challenged with similar issues: Staffing shortages, trauma experiences from staff who worked hard to care for others during the pandemic, organizational changes, racism, and health inequities. Taking care of each other as a network of respite providers is vital to continuing our work. Raising up the voices of our consumers and your compassion to serve those in need of medical respite care is valued and in need now more than ever. 
Please reach out to us if you need any support and/or technical assistance — we love hearing from you! We are excited to finalize the 2024-2027 RCPN Steering Committee Work Plan in the coming months and look forward to seeing you at the many educational events and webinars hosted by NIMRC. 
I hope to see many of you at the annual conference in the spring! Until then, take good care.
Susannah King, MSW, LICSW
Acting Program Manager, Hennepin County Health Care for the Homeless

Save the Date

Nov.14 at 2 p.m. CST — Medical Respite Playbook: A Practical Guide for Managed Care Plans
Join NIMRC to officially launch the Medical Respite Playbook: A Practical Guide for Managed Care Plans. Created in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the guide provides managed care plans with information about the philosophy and practice of medical respite care, program design, and offers suggestions on how managed care plans can most effectively partner with medical respite care programs. 
All Member Meetings provide an opportunity to join together with other medical respite program providers and administrators to discuss key issues affecting medical respite care. We will provide updates on NIMRC, resource, and policy issues. This will be followed by a short presentation and large group discussion on current issues affecting the field, where attendees have the opportunity to connect with each other, share experiences, and learn insights from other programs.
May 13-16, 2024 — National Health Care for the Homeless Conference & Policy Symposium
The theme for HCH2024
is “Toward Access and EquaLity: Embracing an Equitable Approach to Health Care.” The conference will be held in Phoenix at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. 
Growing inequities and ongoing criminalization of homelessness are worsening in our society and threaten the lives of people experiencing homelessness. Social justice, equity, and high-quality care are core to the mission of the National HCH Council as we work toward cultivating transformational system change that centers health equity and results in an improved health care system for all.
At HCH2024, we will explore and demonstrate how to provide equitable health care to people without homes, address the effects of homelessness, and work to prevent and to end homelessness. Registration opens in November!

Respite Kudos and Accomplishments

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Ti’eri Lino (Olympia, Wash.) and Gargi Cooper (Lynn, Mass.), the newest members of the RCPN Steering Committee for the 2023-2024 fiscal year!
Circle the City’s CEO Kim Despres was recently featured in an article by the Phoenix Business Journal. Despres was selected as permanent CEO in September 2021 and oversees a staff of 225 employees who work at two 50-bed medical respite facilities, two outpatient clinics, four mobile medical units, and two street medicine teams who are located in emergency rooms across metro Phoenix.

Respite on the Road

2024 Leadership Summit

RCPN Steering Committee member group photo Medical Respite Team member attendees at the October In-Person Meeting
Left: 2023-2024 RCPN Steering Committee Member attendees at the October In-Person Meeting. Right: Medical Respite Team member attendees at the October In-Person Meeting.

CDCF 2 Program Site Visits

Jessica Simonds, Linda Ketcham, and medical respite team member Christa at Just Dane in Madison, Wis. Just Dane’s heat treatment chamber for client belongings.
 Guest room at Just Dane. Kitchen space at HOPE Recuperative Care in Pontiac, Mich.
Shower space at HOPE Recuperative Care.  Living room space at Bob Tavani House in Duluth, Minn.
Bob Tavani House staff, board members, and medical respite team member Caitlin.  Emergency shelter space at Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington (CCEW) in Spokane, Wash.
 Photo 9: Storage at CCEW. Photo 10: Resident hallway at Joseph & Mary’s Home in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo 11: Stair lift at Joseph’s Home. Photo 12: Beth Graham, Executive Director of Joseph & Mary’s Home, and medical respite team member Samantha. Photo 10: Resident hallway at Joseph & Mary’s Home in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo 11: Stair lift at Joseph’s Home. Photo 12: Beth Graham, Executive Director of Joseph & Mary’s Home, and medical respite team member Samantha.
(Left to right, from top) Photo 1: Jessica Simonds, Linda Ketcham, and medical respite team member Christa at Just Dane in Madison, Wis. Photo 2: Just Dane’s heat treatment chamber for client belongings. Photo 3: Guest room at Just Dane. Photo 4: Kitchen space at HOPE Recuperative Care in Pontiac, Mich. Photo 5: Shower space at HOPE Recuperative Care. Photo 6: Living room space at Bob Tavani House in Duluth, Minn. Photo 7: Bob Tavani House staff, board members, and medical respite team member Caitlin. Photo 8: Emergency shelter space at Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington (CCEW) in Spokane, Wash. Photo 9: Storage at CCEW. Photo 10: Resident hallway at Joseph & Mary’s Home in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo 11: Stair lift at Joseph’s Home. Photo 12: Beth Graham, Executive Director of Joseph & Mary’s Home, and medical respite team member Samantha.

Respite in the News

The awareness of medical respite care and medical respite programs across communities has grown! Many of our respite programs have been featured in the news, in addition to articles that identify medical respite care as a key intervention for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Alameda Health System (AHS) has partnered with Cardea Health—a nonprofit organization that specializes in healthcare for vulnerable populations—to launch Eddie’s Place, a one-year pilot program that provides care to medically frail, unhoused guests who are discharged from an emergency room at an AHS facility.
  • Since February, a new care center in Denver, from the nonprofit Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, has been providing respite to patients who don’t have a home or somewhere to heal after a hospital stay. “These people rock,” says a resident. “They’re like angels.”
  • Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York announced $550,000 in Blue Fund grants to support five major health-based projects, led by local nonprofits across the Capital Region. Bethesda House of Schenectady received $100,000 to support Cara House, which will provide permanent supportive housing, emergency shelter and medical respite beds for the chronically homeless and impoverished in Schenectady County.
  • A $12.6 million project in Bellingham, WA called the Way Station will provide homeless people with a range of health and social services to assist their transition to more permanent housing. The two-part facility will provide hygiene services and clinical care on a walk-in basis. It will also offer medical respite for unhoused individuals who are discharged from the hospital and are in need of a place to recuperate and heal.
  • Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and their partners announced a medical respite wound care pilot program. This pilot, an extension of EOHHS’s medical respite care program, will provide direct wound care services in the community and provide referrals to the medical respite program for people who qualify.
  • Where do Vermont's homeless people go when they leave the hospital? There’s only one medical respite housing site in Vermont right now. It was established by Champlain Housing Trust with the help of University of Vermont Medical Center. In Rutland City, there’s planning for a transitional housing campus, hopefully to open next year. Rutland City Mayor Michael Doenges said there’s room for medical respite housing in that plan, and he said he hopes by working with the housing groups and the hospital, it can be included.
  • Groups in Minnesota met to discuss healthcare for individuals experiencing homelessness. Representatives from Mayo Clinic, Zumbro Valley Medical Center, and the former president of the American Medical Association were among those in attendance. One of the main topics discussed during the meeting was the implementation of recuperative care or respite care programs. Dr. Thomas Kingsley, a Mayo Clinic physician and president of ZVMS, says recuperative care could be valuable as a big focus area.
  • The health system can help people become healthy and housed. The health system certainly cannot fix every contributor to the homelessness crisis, especially factors such as the underlying housing shortage or the prevalence of violence. But health care providers do have a role to play, and implementing these steps in health care settings can help: Train staff in trauma-informed care, Build out care delivery models that match patient needs, Expand the capacity and use of post-hospitalization housing and support programs, and Ensure continuous Medi-Cal coverage.
  • JustDane is honored to have been awarded a grant from the TruStage Foundation. The $200,000 grant will be divided between JustDane’s Healing House and Reentry Services. Since opening its doors four years ago, nearly 250 guests have found a safe place to stay at Healing House. Healing House, an eight-bed facility offering 24/7 recuperative care by medically trained staff and volunteers for up to 28 days, provides families experiencing homelessness a safe place to prepare for or recover from a major medical procedure or hospitalization. Half of the funding from the grant will be used to increase behavioral health support for guests and to purchase new beds, couches, and other equipment that has been heavily used.
  • Three Springfield, Mo., nonprofits are asking for money to create emergency shelters. The Women’s Medical Respite requested support for their newly purchased facility. Abigail Cool, WMR’s executive director, said the program cannot move into the recently purchased house until the first-floor bathroom is remodeled to be compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Salvation Army of Springfield asked for support for the nonprofit’s Lives Transformed capital project. The scope includes expanding and relocating the Harbor House shelter, which currently has 31 beds — 26 beds for the Salvation Army’s program with five set aside to be used as medical respite beds.
  • Pooja Bhalla, CEO of Illumination Foundation, discussed the importance of medical respite care nurses in the state of California and urged the California Board of Registered Nursing to not vote to limit nursing school enrollment. “Our recuperative care model saves the healthcare system money, reduces emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and increases individuals’ connections to resources to support their pathway to housing. Registered nurses are essential to our work, as they are to the statewide provision of the preventative and emergency care that people at risk of homelessness and people living unhoused need.”
  • Researchers from the School of Nursing have used a nationally prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to foster synergy among myriad service agencies and build a “safe, efficacious and efficient” medical respite unit in the men’s shelter of the Buffalo City Mission to help men experiencing homelessness after they are discharged from hospitals. The 13-bed facility in the mission’s Alfiero Family Center provides intensive case management, coordination of medical and social needs, and shelter for homeless men released from hospitals.
  • Chatt Foundation will reopen 10-bed respite center for homeless patients to recover after being released from the hospital. Due to a lack of funds, CEO Baron King said the center has been closed for the last four years. A partnership with CHI Memorial and Hamilton County Health Care has helped reopen it. “The city of Chattanooga is assisting with housing navigation for everyone who comes into our facility, so hopefully when people are discharged, they'll be able to be discharged into supportive housing,” King said. The recovery center is currently running under a six-month pilot program, and they'll need other hospitals in the area to step in to help keep it open.
  • Rogue Retreat’s "Redwood Inn" is getting closer to completion. The Redwood Inn has 48 units: 23 downstairs, 21 used for what Rogue Retreat calls a "discharge medical respite program." It will be dedicated to those who don’t have a safe place to recover when they leave a hospital. “Kelly Shelter may not be appropriate, or the crossing is not a good place to recover for some folks,” Rogue Retreat executive director Sam Engel said. “This will be a place where people can spend a doctor-proscribed amount of time in a safe recovering space with case management while we’re planning for their successful exit into another form of stable housing after their medical recovery.”
  • Sandy City, Utah, has given the green light to a significant code change. This change paves the way for a new transitional housing facility to assist medically vulnerable people. The facility, a former hotel, belongs to Shelter the Homeless. The facility is set to provide support to at-risk homeless seniors and individuals in need of ongoing medical care. The change in the city’s code pertains to the definition of “transitional housing.” This adjustment allows the MVP (Medically Vulnerable People) facility to offer housing for up to two years to residents carefully chosen by Shelter the Homeless based on specific criteria. These criteria primarily include individuals aged 62 or older and those with significant underlying health conditions or requiring recuperative care. In total, the facility will be able to house about 165 people.
  • On Oct. 10, Central City Concern began transporting Recuperative Care Program participants from the Blackburn Center to their new Evergreen Crossing facility. With 66 available rooms, some of which enable double occupancy, they anticipate housing a maximum of 90 people. For over four decades, the organization worked towards ending homelessness. During that work, they developed their own bed design that uses a welded metal frame and easily sanitized sleeping mat. The new facility will have onsite commercial laundry facilities with double the equipment seen in similarly sized buildings and a large communal dining area. The multi-story building also had an elevator to assist the predominantly mobility-impaired guests.
  • For the first time in Hilo, Hawaii, a homeless shelter is teaming up with Hilo Medical Center in an effort to reduce overcrowding at the island’s largest hospital. Hope Services Hawaii has taken some of its shelter space and transformed it into a small medical respite facility providing homeless people with a safe place to heal after they’re discharged from the hospital. Because those respite beds are in such high demand, work is now underway to get a bigger facility.
  • The first recuperative care program in Maine is helping those unhoused or in-between housing receive much needed medical care, and it's wrapping up its first year. The two-year pilot program ties in Preble Street, Greater Portland Health, and Maine Medical Center to offer care on all sides. Within the first six months of the program, 12 people were able to get connected to housing, and it's a goal for all patients who are unhoused. In addition, the program partners with other services in the area, such as methadone clinics, to bring essential resources to patients in recovery. "We have a partnership where they bring their dosing here once a week, so our clients don't have to come and go every single morning," said Brittney LaSheir, director of social services. Over the past year, the program has served 100 clients and is almost always at capacity.
If you have a news story recognizing a medical respite/recuperative care program, please share it with us by emailing Samantha at

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 and related services. Follow this link for more information and to join the RCPN.
  • Is your medical respite program profile in the NIMRC directory up to date? Complete this program profile form to update your information and view the directory here.
  • Does your program need technical assistance? Please contact Julia, Caitlin, Stephen, Christa or Tarryn to request a TA meeting to help address your program’s needs! 
  • Additional resources for medical respite/recuperative care can be found at

Connect with us on social media for ongoing updates and news!
Facebook: National Institute for Medical Respite Care
National Institute for Medical Respite Care

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