It is Difficult to Get Bed Rest at the Women’s Shelter

Commentary by Denise Grant

In a perfect world the Norma Herr Woman’s shelter would be sympathetic to the healthcare needs of the women who live there. With that being said, there are a number of residents at the shelter who are elderly, or have a chronic illnesses, and many women get injured on the street.  We are blessed to have a nurse and a physician’s assistant who come once a week to assist us with our health care needs.  Our physician’s assistant is able to write prescriptions, order blood work. The nurse can draw the bloodwork and assists us in scheduling appointments at Metro Hospital.  I have yet to hear a complaint regarding this important health care service.

So the question is this:   if our physician assistant is a capable, thorough medical professional why doesn’t the women’s shelter accept orders from her stating a resident should be on bed rest?

When the physician assistant is working at Care Alliance on St. Claire Ave, she works alongside other medical personnel. And when she writes orders the medical personnel she works with are obligated to follow those orders unless they voice a legitimate concern.  So why doesn’t the staff at Norma Herr have the same obligation?  It sounds like a no brainer.  If a resident is physically unable to get to their primary care physician then the the logical answer is for the resident to see the physician assistant when she is at the shelter.   If it is not a life threatening illness and EMS is called this is a huge waste of resources and the shelter resident will be billed for the cost.

I thought the staff at Norma Herr was there to help us to become independent.  It seems they say one thing and they do something different.   So if someone is injured, falls or needs bed rest that has been ordered by a physician assistant, I don’t understand why the shelter staff would say “no.”  If the shelter denies bed rest and the resident doesn’t heal then the resident becomes stuck at the shelter for a longer period of time possibly due to getting sicker and not being able to recover.  So how is that an example of the shelter staff helping us to become independent?

Editor’s Note: Nearly every woman at the shelter has to leave at 8 a.m., but there are disabled and elderly women and those on bed rest who are allowed to stay at the shelter during the day.

Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Street Chronicle October 2014 Cleveland, Ohio.