Grady Health System Community Outreach Services
Green, Denise Marcella
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Currently, the social attitude concerning homelessness has benefited from the past 30 years of research conducted both publicly and privately. Rather than being seen as personal choice or individual defects, homelessness is seen as a socially constructed failure that occurs when families and individuals experience one or more catastrophic insults from which they lack the resources or social support to recover. The homeless individual epitomizes the culmination of poverty, lack of education, lack of social skills, severe mental illness, substance abuse, and severed family ties that fall far below the level that is acceptable for a human being to thrive. The Grady Health System Community Outreach Services [COS] embraces the concept of integrated services in addition to flexible community outreach for ancillary services to the homeless consumer suffering from mental illness and/or substance abuse in the belief that this model provides optimum treatment for this population. COS social workers have provided services and care for this multi-needy group for over twenty-seven years without the benefit of evaluating the efficacy of their service delivery. The following research study is a confirmative program evaluation centered on determining the efficacy of the integrated services approach provided by the clinical staff of the COS. The data collected provided information to establish the failure to reject the two hypothesis in the research study: (1) There was not an over-all self-reported improvement in the quality of life of the COS consumer as measured by the BASIS-32 (Eisen, Dill, & Grob, 1994); and, (2) There was not a reduction of hospitalization rate in the geriatric COS consumer. Further descriptive data demonstrated that: (3) Flexibility of interventions was documented at a substandard level; (4) Contact with family/significant others was documented at a sub-standard level; (5) First contact with homeless individuals is documented at an above-standard level; and (6) Discharges from the COS are predominantly due to documented refusal of services. The program evaluation provided valuable information concerning the efficacy of the current service delivery to the consumer. The conclusion provides recommendations provided by the researcher that The Grady Health System reviewed and subsequently adopted.