Our Approach to Care

We are taking quality of care and access to care to a new level. We are becoming a health home.


Health home

Our mission: "...to prevent and end homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families by providing quality, integrated health care and promoting access to affordable housing and sustainable incomes through direct service, advocacy and community engagement."

During 30 years, we at Health Care for the Homeless have steadily grown and strengthened our approach to care to meet the needs of the vulnerable people we served. And for 30 years, we've been driven by a single and unwavering goal: to improve access to care for our clients, and to provide them with the highest possible quality of care. Continuing in that spirit, we are now implementing a care model that takes quality and access to a new level.

A health home delivers person-centered, whole-person care that is evidence-based and uses data to continuously improve the care we deliver. We have been person-centered and focused on the whole person since our first client walked through our clinic doors in 1985. We’ve also always applied evidenced-based standards to our work and used data to inform our care.

What’s changed, is how much we’ve grown over the years. We have more disciplines and staff members than ever before. And, for the first time ever, we have multiple fixed clinic sites. Coordinating all of our activity today requires a more powerful and standardized way of delivering care.

We are becoming a health home.

Today, 1 in 3 people experiencing homelessness in the United States is under the age of 24.

Five areas of focus

As a health home, we apply five (5) clinical areas of focus to the care we deliver.

access for those who need us

People should be able to reach us easily when they need help. So we ensure 24/7 access to clinical advice; make our appointment schedules and hours flexible and accommodating; and enable clients to access their health records electronically. We also are increasing our presence throughout the community. We have clinics in dowtown Baltimore, West Baltimore and Baltimore County. We provide medical care one day a week in Harford County. And we are continually expanding our street outreach and reaching more people with our mobile clinic.

team-based care

Whole-person care requires the expertise of many different providers. Done well, it demands collaboration and constant communication among these providers. We are integrating our care providers into multidisciplinary care teams, each with its own “panel” of clients, so they can develop care plans that span the range of treatment and services that clients need.

care management

Not only are we committed to providing our clients with the best possible care; we are committed to positioning them to manage their own care. To that end, we make sure we know which client groups have the highest needs; we share clients' care plans with them and across their care teams; we provide clients with the tools to care for themselves and we make sure they are part of all decisions relating to their care; and we help them manage their medications. 

Better manage and coordinate care

People experiencing homelessness often have complex conditions that require intensive care coordination. Our providers specialize in identifying these particularly vulnerable individuals. They provide them with the multi-disciplinary support that keeps them out of hospital emergency rooms, and they help them develop reasonable, healthy goals for themselves. This coordinated and comprehensive care includes helping individuals put a roof over their heads.

improve the health of the larger population

As a population, people without homes have higher rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes, than their housed counterparts. We are using evidence-based guidelines to standardize and expand our assessments for these conditions. And we are continuously seeking ways to help our clients manage and treat their conditions.


Person-centered, whole-person care

We provide person-centered, whole-person care, combining health care services and supportive services with advocacy.

We provide whole-person care in a safe, respectful environment with acute sensitivity to our clients’ life experiences. All have endured trauma; many engage in behaviors that pose a risk to their health. Through a trauma-informed and harm reduction approach, we meet individuals where they are, engage them in care with dignity and work to engage them fully in their own overall wellness.

Trauma-informed care

Trauma is central to the homeless experience. People without homes often experience life trauma before they end up on the street, and living on the street is, in itself, traumatic. Trauma affects everything from our ability to trust others and build relationships to our brain development. For these reasons, we at Health Care for the Homeless are committed to providing trauma-informed care, a best practice that recognizes the impact of violence on an individual’s well-being, and that helps heal the social and psychological wounds violence leaves in its wake.  

Harm reduction

Total adherence or abstinence doesn’t work for all who engage in behaviors harmful to their health, like substance abuse. Harm reduction leverages the relationship between the care provider and the individual to lower the individual’s health risks. Our providers work with individuals to set goals that both reduce harm and are realistic to achieve.

Our model of care is known in the health care industry as a patient-centered medical home. Because we provide comprehensive care that goes beyond medical care, we call ourselves a health home.

 

Health Care for the Homeless is accredited for quality: Health Care for the Homeless is an FTCA-deemed facility and is accredited by the Joint Commission for ambulatory care and behavioral health, and as a patient-centered medical home.