‘Trying to do it on your own is a big challenge’ : Finding Stability Through Pathways to Health + Home
April 2, 2019 | By Margaux McFetridge, Senior Consultant, Transform Health
When Jaime suffered from a major stroke nearly two years ago, his world turned upside down. A professional chef and rising star in the local food scene, Jaime was the creative force behind a series of local pop-up events and farm-to-fork dinners. He thrived on sharing ideas and connecting with others, whether it was working on film projects or volunteering in the community.
Then everything changed. Jaime experienced an ischemic stroke, meaning that a clot had blocked an artery to his brain, interrupting the blood flow and depriving his brain of oxygen. After undergoing surgery, Jaime was eventually discharged from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility where he faced the challenge of learning how to walk and talk again. He experienced significant loss of movement on the right side of his body and the ability to use his dominant hand. His speech was also seriously impaired.
Not only are strokes a leading cause of death in the U.S., they are also a major driver of long-term disabilities. Strokes have a profound impact on the lives of survivors. Simple, every day tasks become monumental. Loss of employment, housing instability, trouble with communicating, emotional distress, and a limited ability to walk and drive are just some of the challenges that individuals face in the aftermath of a stroke. Navigating the health care system, a challenge in its own right, requires a herculean effort, oftentimes without additional support.
After months of extensive rehabilitation and a tremendous amount of hard work, Jaime eventually was able to live independently, but he was no longer able to support himself as a working chef. Without a job or a home, he crashed with friends, spending hours on the phone every day attempting to navigate the health care system and access other services he needed to self-manage.
That’s where Pathways stepped in. Jaime accessed the program through Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC), a local community clinic that provides comprehensive health care services. Through SNAHC, Jaime was connected to a multidisciplinary Pathways Care Team comprised of care coordinators, community health workers, and housing specialists from SNAHC, Sacramento Covered, and Sacramento Self-Help Housing.
Working together, Jaime’s team connected him to interim housing and then a permanent home. They also supported him in accessing comprehensive health services and expedited specialty care, including physical, occupational and speech therapy provided by Dignity Health.
We had a chance to connect with Jaime and hear his story on how Pathways helped provide “whole person care,” including connection to housing, mental health, and specialty care services.
How did you connect to Pathways?
I was introduced to Pathways in August of last year. I was receiving health care at Sacramento Native American Health Center following a stroke that I had about 20 months ago. I had told my primary care physician about the challenges I was having with referrals and housing specifically, and he said we have a new resource called Pathways and they introduced me to the program that day.
How did having a stroke impact your life?
I was a working professional before my stroke and overnight my life changed. I could no longer cook because I had limited use of my cutting arm. It affected my speech and I was a real big communicator. That’s been difficult to deal with. There was a certain amount of post-traumatic stress disorder. It took me awhile to overcome those challenges.
What were some of the challenges you experienced with navigating health care services before connecting Pathways?
Before Pathways it was hard to navigate the system. I was on the phone three to four hours a day trying to connect with different services, different doctors, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy.
How did Pathways help?
It’s really reduced the stress of managing and navigating the health care system. I was able to get referrals for neurology. I saw a cardiologist and had a complete workup. They set me up with Dignity Health to get occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy. I was introduced to Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing and with their help I was able to find a place, a one-bedroom apartment to rent.
Describe some of the challenges you faced in accessing housing?
The housing issue is huge. There were upwards of 43,000 applications last year for a very limited number of available spots. Having that support to get a place was a big benefit. It could have taken me years to find a place. Through Pathways, I was able to get one.
What are your goals for the future?
Independent living is definitely going to benefit me and allow me to continue on in the line of cooking. I have a Facebook page called “A Mission for Healthy Foods.” I post and write about different foods related to healthy eating, which is a big factor of your overall health and in particular, stroke prevention. I don’t want other people to have to go through what I’ve gone through.
What has Pathways meant for you?
Pathways has meant a lot for me. It has really expedited and streamlined the process for getting services that are otherwise really, really hard to get. Trying do it on your own is a big challenge.
Get in Touch!
If you would like to work with Transform Health on Pathways to Health + Home or have questions about what is taking place across California, please contact Margaux McFetridge at email@example.com.