July 9, 2021
The National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC), a first-of-its-kind institute designed to advance best practices, provide expert services, and promote state-of-the-field knowledge in medical respite care, will mark its one-year anniversary on July 15, 2021.
A special initiative of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, NIMRC has made a significant impact in its first year. In addition to partnering with the United Health Foundation and the CDC Foundation to award more than $2.4 million in support to 15 medical respite care programs in 11 states and the District of Columbia, NIMRC also has published several reports and issue briefs, and provided training and technical assistance to medical respite care programs throughout the nation.
Medical respite care is short-term, residential care that provides a place to rest, recover, and heal to people experiencing homelessness who have been discharged from hospital-level care. In addition to acute and post-acute care, individuals have access to other supportive services.
“The challenges of the past year have clearly demonstrated there will be an ongoing need for medical respite care programs to provide medical, mental health, and supportive services,” said Bobby Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. “NIMRC is proud to take the lead in advancing this type of care, but the ultimate goal we all share is to provide services and work toward a solution that ends homelessness.”
There are currently more than 115 medical respite programs listed in NIMRC’s national directory, representing 35 states and the District of Columbia. NIMRC also is home to the Respite Care Providers’ Network, which supports the development of new and existing medical respite care programs through education, client advocacy, networking, and research.
While providing services and resources to medical respite care programs, NIMRC itself experienced growth in its first year, increasing from a staff of one to a staff of three. Julia Dobbins, NIMRC’s director of programs and services, has been with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council for nine years and has witnessed the growth of medical respite care in that time.
“Through NIMRC, we have cultivated new local, state, and national partnerships that have elevated the profile of medical respite care and the RCPN across the country,” said Dobbins. “We are at the table with hospital associations, health care plans, and state Medicaid staff as they discuss integration and expansion of medical respite care services, and we are also introducing new organizations and foundations to the work of medical respite care programs.”
Dobbins added, “While we are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in this first year of NIMRC, we are thrilled about what’s on the horizon.”