Hello! My name is Sarah Fallavollita and I am the Summer in the City Intern placed at Joseph’s Home this summer. Since I am a premed student hoping to serve others in the healthcare field, I am excited to be working in a medical respite center for men experiencing homelessness.
As a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine medical system, Joseph’s Home seeks to care for and heal the whole person. Specifically, Joseph’s Home is a 12 bed facility (11 during the COVID-19 pandemic) which temporarily houses men experiencing homelessness who have recently been released from the hospital or nursing home upon recovering from surgery or a medical emergency. While at Joseph’s Home, residents are provided with a safe and secure environment to reach medical stability. Alongside reaching and maintaining medical stability, the goal is for residents to find, secure and move into permanent housing upon discharge from Joseph’s Home. The journey of every resident is different, so the length of time that they stay at Joseph’s Home ranges from 30 days to several months as they utilize different services and resources the staff can offer to meet their needs.
Over the past six weeks I have been lucky enough to work alongside the passionate and supportive staff at Joseph’s Home. I mainly spend my time working with the Health Care Navigator (Carrie) to set up doctor’s appointments for the residents, sort out and audit their medications, administer medication, and work with the residents to develop care plans to reach medical stability. We have also been taking advantage of the warm and sunny summer days to plant a tub garden where we are growing a variety of vegetables and herbs including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, chives, basil, mint and parsley. Every week we have been featuring one of the plants growing in our garden during lunchtime so that the residents have a chance to taste our produce. We hope to encourage the residents to make a tub garden of their own when they move into permanent homes. This effort is part of a larger plan to educate the residents on nutrition and wellness beyond visiting their doctors and taking medications. My research project this summer is focused on developing nutrition guidelines for the residents with hypertension or
heart disease, diabetes, GERD, and kidney failure which are among the most common chronic illnesses the men at Joseph’s Home experience. These conditions can all be treated through improving their diets. This is a slow process which involves education and trial and error, as the residents and staff work together to find plans that are realistically achievable and beneficial. Overall, I am grateful to be a part of the journey each resident is embarking on to reach medical stability at Joseph's Home.
For more information on Joseph's Home and to find ways to get involved, please visit https://josephshome.com/