Compassion and Care: Healing Those Without a Home

Pathway Recuperative Care's Denise McDaniel, LVN, connects with Jorge
Pathway Recuperative Care's Denise McDaniel, LVN, connects with Jorge

When Cedric was released from the hospital following a 6-month stay due to major surgery and complications, he needed a place to recover and set all of his follow-up care appointments. Cedric was without a home at the time.

At National Health Foundation’s Pathway Recuperative Care program, Cedric found a place to recover from his health issues and more; Denise McDaniel, LVN, the Medical Coordinator at Pathway Recuperative Care’s Los Angeles location, treated him with love and kindness.

“At Pathway Recuperative Care, our nursing staff provides medical oversight which means we keep a close watch on their health to ensure they are healing appropriately and that all of their follow-up medical appointments are set and met,” shared Kelly Bruno, President and CEO of National Health Foundation (NHF), “more importantly, we care. We care deeply that our clients have an interruption in homelessness and if this triggers a desire to be connected with services to find their way into a permanent and stable housing situation, we walk that journey with them as well. But it is our exceptional nursing staff that is on the front line of delivering that life-changing care.”

For Denise and her counterpart at Pathway Recuperative Care’s San Gabriel Valley location, Tammy Grimes, LVN, a typical day involves caring for numerous clients while working with social workers and support staff as stable housing is secured.

“I get so excited when we have arranged for housing for a client. It gives them the opportunity to focus on something other than where they will lay their head each night,” shared Tammy. For Denise, the joy of seeing the smile on an individual’s face when they receive housing is the favorite part of her job.

Working with individuals who are without a home has brought Denise and Tammy face to face with the most common misconceptions about this population, “I see people fearing those without a home and that is something I would love to change,” shared Denise. For Tammy, the notion that everyone who is without a home is on drugs or alcohol is far from the truth, “ The truth is everyone has a story and they are all different.”

Denise is inspired by her clients’ tenacity, “I’m always humbled by the people I work with. They are willing to try and start over from scratch.” Tammy’s thoughts turn to the fundamental need for housing, “Living conditions make treating and coping with health issues more difficult. Health cannot be a priority if the individual is focused on their safety and where they will sleep at night. Mortality is higher living on the street.” Both nurses have one wish for their clients: Stable housing in a community that is safe and loving.

For Bruno, having exceptional staff working with clients has raised the bar of what compassionate care looks like, “On behalf of all of us at NHF, I salute our nurses and thank them for delivering far more than health. Through their compassion, strength and the love for what they do, they deliver a deep caring that is life-changing and inspiring to us all.”