What Is Medical Respite Care?
Medical respite care is acute and post-acute medical care for homeless persons who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not ill enough to be in a hospital. Unlike “respite” for caregivers, “medical respite” is short-term residential care that allows homeless individuals the opportunity to rest in a safe environment while accessing medical care and other supportive services. Medical respite care is offered in a variety of settings including freestanding facilities, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and transitional housing.
The Medical Respite Program Directory provides profiles of medical respite programs in the United States and Canada.
The 2012 Medical Respite Policy Statement describes the policy and advocacy goals of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council related to medical respite care. The National HCH Council works diligently to promote medical respite policy goals with federal decision makers.
Watch a Short Documentary on Medical Respite Care
Filmed by documentarian, John Baynard of the World Witness Project, this short video describes medical respite care from the perspective of consumers, health care for the homeless clinicians, and a physician from a hospital emergency department. Providers and advocates are encouraged to share the video with potential funders, partners, and policymakers. DVD copies of the video are available upon request.