Monthly Archives: February 2013

Street Medicine: Person Centered Approach

Just about to finish my masters of social work at the University of Southern California. Each week we have a little over an hour of videos and online content to cover before we go to class. Today I had the opportunity to watch a documentary about an organization called Street Medicine, which you all can watch too. I found out this organization was started by Dr. Jim Withers who dressed as a homeless person in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in order to make medical visits to homeless. My undergraduate degree was at Chatham University in Pittsburgh so I really enjoyed learning this. This particular video takes place in Los Angeles. I found out more about Street Medicine, whose website is also on WordPress.

I especially like the approach of Street Medicine because they use a person centered approach, which includes being accessible to folks who otherwise may not see a doctor.  Watching the video you see the staff members in plain clothes, the doctor has a back pack and they drive a van together to meet with folks.  They talk about encouraging folks to go to their clinic if they need, or taking folks to the ER if that is necessary.  In working with one man, they understand that first they must meet his wishes of getting a shower and clothes before they can get him to agree to go to the hospital for a large facial abscess that they believe could be life threatening  if not treated soon.  They are so patient with him and answer all of his questions and are willing to sit with him in the ER waiting room.

Using a person centered approach in the medical field means using user friendly language, listening openly to what the patient has to say, is concerned about, and approaching them in a way that shows respect  in the most dignified way possible.  This got me thinking about a past client I had, a single father who was raising two teenage sons who were homeless when I met them.  I remember being impressed by their creativity, humor, musical talents, and dreams for the future.  To be part of the program I worked at, they had to follow certain rules and we had to create weekly agreements they would follow in order to continue to live there.  I knew this weekly agreement not followed had serious consequences; one thing I like to do was add a piece in it about self-care.  While I wanted clients to understand the importance of maintaining a safe environment, I also wanted them to understand the value of taking care of themselves.  And so each week clients would come up with something to do for themselves that we would add in this contract (my person centered approach).  I hope that the father I mentioned has been able to continue to incorporate self-care into his life some 8 years later.  His talent is still greatly appreciated by me.  IMGP3742


Evening Walk

Another walk this evening over 4 miles, the sun was out though still a little chilly I enjoyed the fresh air and company.  IMGP3725
I feel so lucky to live in a place where I can walk from my home to find nature. IMGP3727 And not to mention the Willamette River. IMGP3728


Heron at the Lake

Today Jeremy and I took our two largest dogs on a walk/jog for 4.25 miles. We made a stop at the lake, which I just found out is part of a little canal called Patterson Slough, so that Lau could take a quick swim. Unfortunately all of the dog pictures ended up blurry, they was just moving around too much! Another cold and drizzly day in Springfield, Oregon but it did not stop all the local walkers/runners/dog walkers today. IMGP3720


Roses From My Valentine

Received roses from my Valentine today, this is our 9th consecutive Valentine celebration! I can say, it hasn’t felt like 9 years, maybe 5. IMGP3714 Jeremy has stuck by my side through many life changes; always provided his love, sense of humor, wit, and creative thought processes.

IMGP3718 Hope you all have had an extra sweet day.


Two of My Favorite Things

Today I went to donate some things to Value Village and they were handing out roses to their donors. Zen also wanted credit for the donations! IMGP3712


Sharing Thoughts

Today’s photo was found while I was sitting with my sister at Sharis. With a window seat I saw these little purple flowers and decided they were my picture for the day. IMGP3710 The picture turned out prettier than even I remember it being. I appreciate that, when life adds a little unexpectedness. Similarly to when I came into the room today and saw a photo of a rose I took awhile back (my photos rotate on my screensaver). The rose was so full and magnificent; I was surprised by my own skills.

I was glad to see my sister today, she’s had a rough time of it lately and so it was good to catch up and set eyes on her. Life can be such a struggle but my hope always is that we can lift that struggle off one another’s shoulders when we can share what’s going on – so we don’t exist in isolation.


Knitting for Hospice

I’ve had fun knitting the last few months starting with knitting scarves for survivors of Sandy, a baby blanket for Maisy (still working on that one), matching scarves for my sister and me, and recently a scarf for a hospice client I’ve continued to volunteer to visit. I wore the scarf I made when I went to visit the client on hospice and she talked of being cold. I offered to make her a scarf and asked what color she would like. Pink was her choice. Only to find out once I got home I was out of all my pink yarn so I asked my friend Ann if she might have any spare pink yarn for me. I got a yes and promised a picture! So here’s my thank you Ann, for giving me this great yarn to make this scarf that I’m looking forward to handing to my client this week. Hoping its another bit of comfort, to remind this special person she’s thought of. IMGP3705