I realize that this blog has not clearly expressed my day to day. On the days I work for OSN, I help organize outreach backpacks, do research on projects, prepare for SWES and provide high risk and street outreach to clients with the outreach workers. When I am at TLA, I spent my time assisting the case managers with medical case management of the residents. I am finding that I really love case management. I enjoy putting together the pieces of care for people, advocating for their needs and educating our residents on their care plans and medical regimens. Medical case management has given me the wholistic connection to medicine I have craved since college. I like to be able to go to appointments with clients, “case manage” their needs and connect them to the services they need. It does not matter if one goes to medical appointments if they cannot fill prescriptions, live in a safe place, feel supported and cared for and receive education on what they are going through. Successful medical intervention is contingent on many other factors than the excellence of inpatient and outpatient care. I seek to fill the gaps of peoples lives that hinder them from positive medical outcomes through gaining income, education and follow up on their care. We are lucky to have Mercy Family Health Center literally right below us to collaborate directly for the benefit of our clients! They make our jobs much easier! I know I have emphasized the physical beauty of Trail Lane apartments, due largely to the decorative passion of my supervisor Stephanie, I have not delved deeply into what really makes it beautiful, its residents.
The residents are extremely diverse, ages ranging from their 20s to mid 80s. We have men and women of all races and all walks of life. The people who call Trail Lane home have faced chronic homelessness, suffer substance dependence, mental illness and commonly medical comorbidities. Every person that lives at TLA fills me with the drive to continue what I do, to advocate for others in worse situations and appreciate the strength of the human condition. I meet jovial men flourishing because of medical and emotional support for their once debilitating mental illness, elderly gentlemen finding permanent security and respite in the comforts of big screen TVs and freshly catered food each day. I see individuals still struggling with the demons of their mental illness. The atmosphere is for the most part jovial and peaceful. I hear it gets pretty rowdy on the weekends, with impromptu cookouts and movie nights instigated by staff and residents. 🙂 I think many outsiders would be surprised by the “feel” of TLA, and I would attest most of it to respect. The staff of TLA respect the residents as adults with dignity. In response, TLA is treated with respect and dignity. There are framed photos of past and present residents. One resident stated that it was the first time he had seen a picture of himself since childhood, the first time he had ever had a photo framed.