Media Coverage of Serenity Court:
Philadelphia Business Journal: PHMC unveils North Philadelphia respite facility for the homeless
WHYY: Medical respite for homeless now open in North Philly
6abc: Celebrating the opening of the city's first medical respite facility
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities, is pleased to announce the grand opening of Serenity Court, a medical respite facility for individuals experiencing homelessness. PHMC leaders were joined at the event by the City of Philadelphia’s Deputy Managing Director of Health and Human Services, Eva Gladstein; Hahnemann University Hospital Director of Case Management, Stephanie Puccia; and former respite center patient, John Littlejohn.
Serenity Court offers post-acute medical care to individuals experiencing homelessness who have been released from a hospital stay following an illness, surgery or an injury, and are too ill or frail to recover in a homeless shelter. Located at 1221 North 19th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19121, Serenity Court is a 7,900 square foot facility with capacity to serve 20 individuals, including both men and women. Serenity Court provides clients with a number of services, including medication management; discharge planning and care instructions; and appointment transportation and scheduling, in addition to connection to primary care and case management.
“We recognize the complex needs of our city's homeless population and understand that increased access to medical care, permanent housing and other critical services can have a profound impact on individuals in need," said David Dunbeck, Director of Homeless and Social Service Programs at PHMC. "With support from our hospital partners, the city’s Office of Homeless Services and Depaul USA, Serenity Court directly addresses a growing need in our city by providing homeless men and women a safe and secure place to recuperate from their medical condition. This important access to patient-centered medical and behavioral health care, and connection to relevant social services through case management and coordination, results in better health outcomes and a more sustainable future.”
Serenity Court’s hospital partners include Hahnemann University Hospital, Mercy Health Systems, Penn Presbyterian Hospital, Temple University Hospital, Jefferson University Hospital and Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Building on the success of the pilot respite program PHMC operated with Depaul USA in Germantown since 2014, Serenity Court’s new location expanded to serve both men and women and was further customized to meet the needs of the population, including those with mobility issues. During the four years of the pilot program that operated from March 2014 to April 2018, 155 individuals experiencing homelessness were admitted, with a typical length of stay of 10 days. Thirty-seven percent of discharged patients were released to permanent housing. Homeless patients served in medical respites like Serenity Court are less likely to be readmitted to a hospital, resulting in better health outcomes for the individual and cost savings for hospitals, insurance companies and the community.
“Serenity Court fills a critical gap in the continuum of services for people who are homeless,” said Eva Gladstein. “Unfortunately, many people have been forced to turn to shelters after being medically discharged and shelters are not equipped to support their medical and other needs. We thank PHMC for their community support and partnership by helping those who are most vulnerable make a healthier transition to stable housing.”
John Littlejohn, a former respite client who had been admitted as a homeless individual in 2017 after experiencing significant health complications, spoke about his experience. He expressed gratitude to the respite for allowing him to rest and heal in a safe environment, and for the help the facility and staff provided him in applying for Social Security benefits and connecting him to case management services. John now lives in an apartment.
On behalf of Hahnemann University Hospital, Stephanie Puccia thanked all those involved with Serenity Court and pledged Hahnemann's commitment to continued support and collaboration for many years to come. Through the “pilot phase” of respite, Stephanie added that it became clear that Serenity Court is a very valuable part of the continuum of care for patients experiencing homelessness.
Operating in partnership with Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services, PHMC’s hospital partners, and other providers, the respite program is coordinated through PHMC’s Mary Howard Health Center for the Homeless and provides comprehensive primary and behavioral health care and case management services. Serenity Court is part of the PHMC Health Care for the Homeless program, which provides high-quality, patient-centered care across the homeless continuum in the Philadelphia area, from those living on the street to those now securely housed.
Hospital referrals to Serenity Court will be accepted Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. by calling 215.684.3430.