Helping homeless women and children
We provide free healthcare to those who need healthcare the most, yet have the least access.
Shelter Health Services is a free health clinic providing healthcare and health information to uninsured, medically indigent, homeless women and children living in poverty and staying in the Salvation Army Center of Hope, the region's largest shelter for homeless women and children. All shelter residents may access our free walk-in clinic simply by showing their shelter ID. Lacking money, Medicaid and mobility, for most of our clients, the free clinic is their only source of healthcare.
Our mission focuses on the end-benefit of having access to our clinic. To remove health issues as barriers to self-sufficiency and upward mobilty for homeless women, and as impediments to development and readiness to learn for homeless children, by providing free healthcare and health information that is easily accessible. Attaining self-sufficiency is the most effective way out of homelessness. Being healthy enough to find and keep a job, affordable housing and becoming a part of the community is what virtually every woman in the shelter is trying to achieve. For children, health issues can negatively impact educational, emotional, mental, behavioral, social and even recreational development.
We address and remove barriers to receiving healthcare including ease of access (located within the shelter, where our clients live), ease of use (prompt, walk-in care, Monday - Friday, 9:30 to 6:00. No appointments needed. No delays in receiving care), affordability (all clinic services are provided free, including prescriptions) and continuity of care (unlimited number of visits offers clients a medical home for acute, primary and prevention care). Our Extended Care Program allows both adults and children clients to access the clinic's free services even after they have left the shelter.
Integrated services and care
For underserved populations, care is usually fragmented, provided as separate and disparate services, from separate and disparate agencies. Since improvement in heath issues are inherently linked, services should also be inherently linked.
Linkage of healthcare, medical, mental health and specialty services (mammograms, dental, vision) align all needs with care and services resulting in an integrated and seamlessly delivered system of care. Health assessments transcend individual issues in favor of a comprehensive, holistic approach. Needs are addressed simultaneously rather than sequentially to optimize improvement in the short shelter stay of 3 to 6 months. Clinic "Care Team" of Medical Assistant, Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner identify needs, matrix services and mobilize in-clinic and collaborative resources to provide appropriate levels of care within the timeframe needed to maximize health outcomes.
Our direct network is comprised of multi-agency collaborations and partnerships, all of which are located within the Center of Hope. Salvation Army Center of Hope provides access to this underserved population and rent-free space. Mecklenburg County SACOT substance abuse treatment provides counseling. Family First provides mental health assessment and counseling. Anuvia provides mental health medication management. Co-assessment of medical, mental health and substance use needs integrates services of these agencies into the clinic's medical care. 37% of clinic clients have mental health and/or substance use needs that require professional intervention. Of these, 73% have a medical co-morbidity. Close proximity of these collaborativer partners within the Center of Hope fosters linking services and integrating care.
Collaborative services that require specialized expertise or technology are brought to the clinic. Novant Cancer Center brings their mobile imaging van to the clinic to provide free mammograms and provides low-dose CT scans for early detection of lung cancer at their imaging facility. We recruit heavy smokers at risk of lung cancer. Transportation expense is shared between Shelter Health Services and Novant Cancer Center. Ada Jenkins Center dental van brings quality dental care to the clinic. RAIN provides counseling and support for HIV+ clients.
Referral partners include: MedAssist for expensive prescription medications, like insulin. Gilead for PrEP. Lions Club Eye Clinic for eye exams, prescriptions, lenses and frames.
Clinic Services and Programs
* Breast Health & Cancer Prevention Program. 60% of adult clients are 40+. Most never had a mammogram, or if they had ome, it was many years ago.
* Chronic Disease Management Program (hypertension and diabetes). 32% of clients have hypertension, 12% have diabetes. Co-morbidity of both is high.
* HIV Testing & Prevention Program. PrEP preventive daily pill has been added to testing and education.
* Pediatric Wellness & Prevention Program. 30% of clients are children, half are between 0 and 5 years, key developmental years. Spot Vision Screener detects vision deficits and eye diseases, especially important in children too young to read eye charts or describe their vision.
* Pre-Diabetes Program. 30% of those assessed are pre-diabetic. Interventions impacting weight loss, lowered A1C, nutrition and exercise help half of program participants to lose weight, a harbinger of lowered A1C.
Our services and programs are continuously responding to meet new needs of our children and adult clients. These are good examples.