Duffy team members’ days are full of interactions with our patients – some positive, some more challenging. Often, staff does not realize how much of an impact their small acts of compassion and kindness have on the patients and clients we serve.
Luckily, Case Manager Cathy Finn collects stories from around Duffy and shares them with staff. Here are a few recent highlights.
Medical Case Manager Cathy Finn recently went to visit a gentleman who was staying in the motel through our In From The Streets program for cold weather sheltering. He asked how the repairs to our building were going, and Cathy “sang him the sad tale,” as she called it. The conversation that ensued made both Cathy and the gentleman reflect on the irony of the circumstances and appreciate one another in a new way.
The gentleman reflected, “You know, that is so ironic. You guys are here to protect us and take care of us, and now you have nowhere to stay!” He extended his sincere condolences to Cathy (and Duffy), which she says, “Meant a lot, coming from someone who lives an unbalanced life day to day. And a man who appreciates irony.”
Nurse Practitioner Stephanie Delande recently had a patient whose lab results came back at a critical level; she needed urgent evaluation at Cape Cod Hospital, but Stephanie could not get in touch with her. Each time she called there was no response, and the phone’s voice mailbox was full. Knowing there was a life at risk, Stephanie solicited some help from her Duffy teammates.
Patients experiencing homelessness do not always have reliable means of communication and can be difficult to locate given their lack of stable housing. Through the efforts of both medical and recovery support staff who were familiar with the patient, she was located and was transported by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital. In an email, Stephanie said, “Thank you to Matt [Associate Director of Nursing & Clinic Operations], Maryanne [Nurse], and Melissa [Recovery Support Navigator Supervisor] and her team for getting the patient the medical intervention that she needs. You saved her life.”
Tasks such as renewing an ID – something that most of us find tedious, yet simple – can often present serious road blocks for our patients. An ID is important in life, so we assist patients in getting one, even paying for them if needed, thanks to unrestricted gifts from our wonderful donors. Recovery Support Navigator Kevin recently helped a patient from Duffy get to the RMV to replace his license. As it turns out, getting there was only half the battle.
Once Kevin and his client arrived, the ‘nothing is easy’ saying kicked in. Staff at the RMV wanted the gentleman to order the license by computer, but he didn’t have access to one. Kevin advocated for him and eventually the woman at the registry was willing to do it while he was there. Duffy paid for it and got him a ride back to the sober house where he is living, problems solved!
The Duffy Case Management team facilitates “In From the Streets,” a county-wide initiative to provide temporary shelter and case management services for individuals experiencing homelessness when the temperature drops below freezing. One of the most difficult parts of the program is when the weather “warms up,” and our case managers must inform folks that it is time to return to wherever they stay. Most often, this is an outdoor arrangement.
During this process, Recovery Support Navigator Chelsea had a breakthrough with a gentleman who confided in her that he did not feel safe returning to his previous living situation.
He told her he did not want to re-start behaviors he wasn’t comfortable with. Chelsea sprung to action and was able to find this gentleman an open spot at a sober house, so he did not have to return to a toxic situation.
Chelsea and fellow Recovery Support Navigator Mara went with him to his camp to assist in packing up his belongings in preparation to segue into a safe, warm new home! “If it weren’t for In From The Streets and the Duffy team, I still would not know what to do to change my life,” shared the gentleman.
“Sometimes I’m still surprised that I’ve been able to go from a criminal mindset to a professional management position,” a client shared with his Duffy therapist, Sue.
The gentleman has spent much of his adult life incarcerated, but through his own work with the support of Duffy and other resources, he has moved to a much more stable lifestyle. He transitioned back to the community by going into Homeless Not Hopeless, and was consistent in attending therapy for support and stability.
He has put in the time and effort to maintain his sobriety, get back on his feet financially, and to hold a job for well over a year now. He not only has kept his job, but he is now working in management in a large retail store. This client has also recently gotten engaged, after waiting until he felt ready to get into a relationship. He continues to make progress.