The mission of Parkview Health is about improving health and inspiring well-being in the communities we serve. As a not-for-profit organization, Parkview reinvests its resources into services and programs that directly impact these aspects of life for people of all ages and circumstances. With such a broad range of needs in the areas we serve, the health system chooses to expand its positive impact by supporting community partners. These relationships strengthen organizations created to reach specific populations or facilitate specialty care for a particular group.
One exceptional example of what this type of collaboration can do, is the relationship between Parkview Health and the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.
Chris Howell, RN, community nurse, Parkview Health, has been at the Rescue Mission since the beginning. “Ten years ago, I’d just finished my bachelor’s degree and I needed a purpose,” she said. “This was a God-driven purpose, to help those experiencing homelessness who had barriers to care. This was how I could help.”
Chris, Amanda Hakes, BSN, RN, community nursing navigator, and Anthony Ogunsin, CCHW, certified community health worker, coordinate efforts to help residents navigate their physical, mental and spiritual wellness. “We walk alongside them until they can get to a better place.” And the need has grown significantly. Early on, Chris estimates she might have seen 50 men per month, but now, that number could be as high as 300 in a given month. The nurses assist with anything from TB tests, to medication management and education, to smoking cessation, to blood pressure checks and referrals to cardiology, to helping coordinate care. “Whatever presents, we try to help. Sometimes,” Chris says, “they just need someone to listen.”
Former resident Patrick Mojet, who now serves as a case manager in the Outreach Program at the Rescue Mission, knows all to well the power of having access to medical services. “I used to come down here, eat, shower and spend the night,” he said. “But eventually, I got into trouble. I did the program for one year, took classes, went to recovery meetings and joined a church. My life moved forward. I’ve known Nurse Chris and Nurse Amanda all that time and we have a close relationship. Nurse Chris still gets on me, like a mama!”
Medical and mental health resources
“Our relationship with Parkview is exciting and dynamic,” David Pitcher, director of outreach, The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, said. “Both organizations are striving toward similar goals. We want individuals to recover, mind, body and soul, and have their best chance at life. To thrive. Looking at the continuum of care, we want to take them from a place of crisis, where they’re at risk, and work with them until they are safe and thriving.”
Getting residents to progress in this way, means connecting them to the right experts and resources. Parkview provides a team of nurses, as well as case managers and counselors to support the population at the Rescue Mission.
“We also have an incredible relationship with Parkview Behavioral Health Institute – Park Center, and the Outreach Program specifically,” David said. “We have on-site Parkview intakes, on-site counseling and coordinated entry assessments, and on-site case management. We’re able to offer 48 fully dedicated beds and two dorms specifically designed to serve individuals in a homeless crisis also struggling with mental illness.”
For both mental and physical healthcare, David believes that the residents having access to Parkview staff at the Rescue Mission is a differentiator. “It makes individuals feel more comfortable when they know that continuity of care is coming from the same organizations,” he said. “They understand that Parkview makes it possible for people who are living here to have access to those resources.”
The blessing of serving others
For Patrick, David and Chris, the demanding work pays off when they see residents make improvements and become healthier.
“It’s a blessing and a gift,” Chris said. “I’ve learned as much from the men I’ve helped as they have from me. What I consider a little thing is a big thing to others, so seeing little wins is what makes me come back every day.”
Patrick’s perspective is one of a man who’s seen the power of having access to care on both a personal and professional level. “The work I do now with outreach is rewarding, and I know how much [the Parkview team members] help the residents and community,” he said. “Having them here has been an awesome part of the Rescue Mission and I appreciate them. It’s a blessing.”