Social Services + Healthcare = A winning combination
A note: Bread for the City is continuing to serve our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check our website at www.breadforthecity.org for updates on our open hours and services, and http://breadforthecity.org/covidsupport for city-wide resources. And now without further ado, we continue Social Services Month!
In the Health Resource Room located in Bread for the City’s medical clinic, Brittany Ferreras, the Care Management Specialist, sits waiting for clients to attend the social services walk-in hours. She reviews the shared staff calendar for appointments and reads messages as she waits to assist clients.
Brittany’s work integrating social work and healthcare is a collaborative effort between the medical clinic and social services team and is part of Bread for the City’s model to implement comprehensive services throughout the center. Patients come in to talk to the Health Resource Room staff about a range of issues, from their health concerns to assistance with necessary basic skills like writing emails, making phone calls, and getting information. During a recent workday, clients came in to talk to Brittany about the disability benefits application process, medication prescriptions, calling medicare services, and more. Each client worked with Brittany from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the kind of support the client needs.
Brittany Ferreras states, “It is difficult to separate a person’s health from the other aspects of their life. For example, managing diabetes involves daily action and attention. It is exponentially more challenging for people who do not have a safe place to sleep or store their medications. We are better able to treat patients when we have this understanding and work to remove some of the barriers to healthcare.”
The Care Management Team that operates the Health Resource Room walk-in services, consisting of Brittany Ferreras, Associate Director of Care Management Ashley Moore, and social services interns, take shifts throughout the week. A key to successfully serve clients is constant communication. The team communicates with staff throughout the center to keep track of clients needs, history, and social worker’s availability. Also, BFC’s clients have the ability to reach out to social workers and doctors through a patient portal, in which they can send direct messages and receive test results digitally.
A valuable feature of embedding social services in the medical clinic is how accessible social services then becomes. The flexibility and openness of the services allow for clients to feel welcomed and willing to reach out for help. The entire Care Management Team and BFC’s medical providers work collaboratively to address the many barriers that directly or indirectly impact BFC clients, leading to better health and social outcomes.