Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Nature and Purpose
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) exists solely to help heal and relieve the suffering of homeless men, women and children. What began in 1985 with six clinicians requesting access to shelters in order to offer medical care has grown to an organization of over 300 dedicated workers. Through our multidisciplinary teams of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dentists, case managers and mental health professionals, we offer the homeless population of Boston access to health care in several different ways.
Our clinicians see patients at over 80 sites in the Boston area. Sometimes they see patients in places you might expect, such as hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters, and recuperative facilities. Other times they see patients in places that might surprise you, like under bridges, in alleys, on heated grates or park benches, and at Suffolk Downs racetracks, where many of the seasonal workers are homeless. Our mission is to provide and assure access to quality health care for all homeless individuals and families in the greater Boston area. We are constantly looking for better ways of doing this and adapting to the reality of the homeless situation.
PULSE students work at the clinic inside the St. Francis House Shelter, where homeless individuals come for primary health care as well as treatment for medical conditions on an episodic basis. PULSE students assist the clinic's staff in offering care to our patients. Part of their responsibilities include:
- Setting up basins for foot soaks
- Handing out towels and clean socks to patients
- Assisting patients with the application of creams for the feet
- Engaging patients in conversation. This not only helps establish rapport with the patient, but it often results in the identification of further medical issues.
- Help clinic staff with disinfecting and washing basins, wiping chairs and other surfaces
- Assisting with the restocking of the medical supply rooms, and participating in other administrative functions (i.e. answering phones, scheduling Pt's appointments, filing etc.).