Bobby is an affable, open man with a thousand-watt smile. “I really like coloring books,” he says, “they help me get out of my own head.” He proudly shows off his masterpieces, “This one’s my favorite,” he says, pointing to a tiger shaded with metallic hues: copper, silver and gold.
Bobby has been a patient at our Barbara McInnis House medical respite facility. He came to us, after decades of living life on the streets, with a host of medical issues: COPD, emphysema, asthma, and severe respiratory allergies that complicate his life—and make the looming threat of COVD-19 even more frightening.
Though Bobby’s health is a challenge, he needs supplemental oxygen to breathe, and needs a wheelchair to get around safely, he remains in good spirits. This, he says, is in large part due to his support structure within Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.
"I have had the honor of knowing Bobby for over two years," says Omar Marrero, MSW, Director of Operations at our Barbara McInnis House, "We have been able to provide Bobby with a range of care during this time. He was a patient at BMH for a long time before he moved over to our Stacy Kirkpatrick House. We enjoy being a part of his care and, as I always say to him—the fact that he's trusting his care to us says a lot. Bobby, if you're able to read this: thank you. Thank you for trusting us with your care.”
“If it weren’t for this program, I’d be out on the street and who knows where my health would be,” he says, “I have an excellent team here at Boston Health Care for the Homeless—from the nurses to my super advocate, Jen. I’m grateful for this program. I’ve got a lot of gratitude for this place. I’ve been homeless for a long time, and this is an excellent place to go if you’re homeless and sick. People care about you here. It’s a good place to get well.”
In 1985, BHCHP opened its medical respite care program--the first of its kind in the country and a national model of care-- effective, dignified, around the clock respite care for patients too sick for shelter or the streets but not sick enough to occupy an acute care bed in one of Boston’s hospitals.
Your support enables us to provide high quality and compassionate care for people with a range of health issues—people like Bobby (meet him in this video