The Center for Respite Care: ‘Our people have run out of options’

By Laurie Nelson, CEO for The Center for Respite Care

The Center for Respite Care is nearly 20 years old. We are the only regional organization actively serving adults experiencing homelessness who are ill and have nowhere else to go.

Center for Respite Care CEO Laurie Nelson

Those we serve:

Our clients are parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers and friends. Some of them once had viable careers, tight connections, good health and homes.

They are you and me. None expected to be with us. Their time with us helps them to regain a life. And we know, once they leave us, they will be healthier and ready to contribute to society. It is our job, as a community, to each contribute, to the extent that we can, to those who have run out of options. This is what we at the Center engage in daily. My team has worked steadily, during these tense times, adorned with masks and gloves, to ensure that people are healing.

To serve as many people as we can, the Center moved forward (two years ago) with a strategic relocation from Avondale to the newly formed St. Anthony Center (SAC), a nonprofit service hub with several partnering agencies in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, just north of Downtown and south of Clifton’s hospital district.

We are situated for maximum convenience for our clients and other area-services from which they benefit. The SAC alone provides haircuts, footcare, meals and health care.

Case manager (and graphic artist) Dave (left) leads an afternoon of painting. Here, he helps client Chris select supplies.

How we provide care:

We serve adult individuals experiencing homelessness from the Greater Cincinnati area with acute medical issues.

These individuals experience a high rate of unresolved health conditions and complications, repeat emergency room visits and extended hospital stays due to improper healing. Substandard living conditions, inadequate nutrition, extreme weather and no or very limited access to healthcare inevitably leads to serious health conditions.

After a stay in the hospital, sometimes extended recovery is needed. Shelters and homeless treatment programs are unable to accommodate the follow-up care that insures someone’s true recovery.

This is where the Center comes in.

The Center’s clients have access to 24/7 extended care in our 20-bed facility following surgeries and other major medical procedures. Our medical staff members address their pressing needs, including medical evaluations, limited lab tests, medication administration, nursing care, and the coordination of medical, substance abuse, and mental health services.

However, it is not just about the client’s physical recovery. 

Utilizing an extensive Social Needs Assessment, our case managers engage in a collaborative process with the newly admitted client, the medical team, and external agencies, as they facilitate, coordinate and evaluate an ongoing individualized case plan.

Clients vote weekly on who has been “the most helpful client.” There is a passing of the torch and awarding of a certificate of appreciation. Above, client Stevie receives the torch and his certificate.

How we are funded:

Our financial model has worked and enabled us to provide more than 144,000 care hours annually. Sadly, we look towards an increased need for the care that we provide.

We are not a recipient of United Way funds and rely on personal donations, grants, government-tax levy funds, hospital contributions and corporate giving. Importantly, most people who come to the Center have been sent from an area hospital. Our care costs significantly less than internal hospital costs. While the hospitals have been generous, their own current situations have meant funds are slower to be received by us. And during this time, we commit to continuing care for these people who need us most. We have successfully raised money throughout our lifetime – this time period has simply strained our system.

We ask for you to consider supporting The Center for Respite Care.

And yes, we ask that you consider a gift.

Sew Masks 4 Cincy provided 50 masks for clients.
Clients Stevie and Matt select their masks.

How you can help:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation in support of adults experiencing homelessness, in need of medical recovery, and help in ending the cycle of homelessness.
  • Become a volunteer. Help is especially needed with the Center’s weekend volunteer provided meal program.
  • Visit the Center’s wish-list page. These clothing and pantry items are always needed.

Thank you for all the support we continue to receive. My team and I have worked continually through these challenging times. From the bottom of our hearts, thanks for your faith in us and for considering a new donation.

CEO for The Center for Respite Care

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