A $500,000 grant from Emanuel Medical Center is helping with post-hospital care for people at Turlock’s homeless shelters.
The program so far has aided about 40 patients discharged from Emanuel to the Turlock Gospel Mission and We Care shelters.
They can get up to 10 days of service from CovenantCare at Home, a nonprofit whose work mostly is with patients who have their own houses or apartments. The employees try to assure that shelter residents take their medications, get enough rest and visit their physicians for followup care.
Without this help, “people would end up right back in the ER, right back in the hospital,” said Ronda Malmberg, administrator of the Turlock branch of CovenantCare at Home, in a phone interview Tuesday.
The program launched in December and could run about two years with the grant, she said.
CovenantCare at Home is part of the Illinois-based entity that owns the Covenant Living senior community in Turlock, formerly known as Covenant Village. All of it is under the Evangelical Covenant Church. Emanuel was part of this until its 2014 sale to the for-profit Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Malmberg said the process for homeless people starts with interviews in the hospital to assess their needs. They then get rides to the We Care shelter for men or the Gospel Mission shelter for women and children. They receive “bubble packs” of pills and rides to their first post-hospital appointments.
Many homeless people are on Medi-Cal or Medicare, Malmberg said, but the program reduces the chances of return hospital visits.
The program partners have found that homeless people are especially vulnerable to pneumonia, wounds, infections, dehydration and poor nutrition.
“The medical support from CovenantCare at Home is a huge step up in providing much needed health services for these individuals,” said Christian Curby, executive director of the Gospel Mission, in a news release. “The extra care gives an added layer toward a recovery and offers a layer of trust that we’re here to help.”