Addressing the health needs of our participants can be a challenge. In most cases, they are more susceptible to chronic health conditions as a result of years spent living unsheltered without access to regular healthcare. Our onsite Integrated Care Clinic was established to integrate physical, mental, and behavioral healthcare and break down barriers to care for our participants. We continue to steadily increase the resources and services offered to ensure that we're meeting the changing needs of our participants and providing the best possible level of care.
We've found that medical professionals can easily become overwhelmed by the number of unaddressed needs for our participants at a first visit, which can be discouraging to a participant who is already uncomfortable being in a medical setting. Building a strong relationship between our clinic staff and our participants alleviates the overwhelm - our medical professionals have plenty of experience with the issues our participants often face. Housing our Integrated Care Clinic onsite at our office can take the fear and uncertainty out of medical care and help our participants feel safe during their visits.
David is just one of many participants who have dealt with serious health concerns alongside our staff.
David joined Pathways in 2014, and credits his team with helping him with taking care of his money, with doctors’ appointments, and remembering how to live in society. He likes to go for long walks now, and his team at Pathways often takes him shopping for new clothes. He loves to arrive to appointments wearing fresh shirts and sneakers. He says he likes to look put together “after so long of just not taking care of myself.”
Six months ago (January 2019), David was diagnosed with cancer. The treatment was aggressive, radiation early every morning, five days a week, for three months. The appointments were so early, and his team worried about his ability to make it there on his own. Five days of radiation every single week for months is a heavy burden for anyone. For someone in David's situation, it can be insurmountable. But he did not miss even one appointment, with his team cheering him on every step of the way
While we chatted with him, David pulled out a special pair of sneakers. He hasn’t worn them, yet. “Next week,” he told us, “that’s my last treatment. I’m gonna wear these when I go. I’m gonna wear these new ones to my last radiation.”
During his treatments, he would sometimes hear the bell ringing down the hall. It was a signal that someone had just won their fight – beaten cancer into remission. It was his signal of hope. “I got one more week,” he said, looking down at the sneakers in his hands, “then I’m gonna ring that bell.”
One week later, David finally got to ring that bell:
David being interviewed by KYW and ABC about his accomplishments for the #ItsThatSimple installation: