July 7, 2016

Joseph’s Home empowers homeless men with tools to live independently

Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, empowers men who are experiencing homelessness and acute illness to heal in a nurturing, faith-based environment and achieve independence. One of the ways Joseph’s Home does this is by providing the men it serves with the tools they need to thrive once they leave Joseph’s Home. A new chronic disease self-management program, which was profiled in the latest Joseph’s Journey e-newsletter, is helping achieve that goal.

The story is below.

Disease Self-Management Program Empowers Men to Make Better Choices for Better Health

Joseph's Home has helped empower hundreds of men heal and achieve independence, but what happens to their health once they graduate? A new chronic disease self-management program in partnership with The Centers for Families and Children is helping provide residents and alumni with tools to manage their health and chronic conditions long after they leave Joseph's Home.

Developed by Stanford University, the six-week evidence-based workshop is being facilitated by Pam Bradford and Steven Woodard from The Centers for Families and Children. Some of the topics covered include techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation; appropriate exercise for improving strength, flexibility and endurance; appropriate use of medications; communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals; and nutrition.

"Many of the men have serious health issues, like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart problems, recovery from major operations and more. The program will help them be more self-reliant as it relates to their health issues," said Pam.

Pam stressed that the program is not a static lecture. Participants have to develop a plan of the healthy choices they can make each week, and then tell the group their plan and report back how they did the next week.

Peer support is another important component. "We discuss what they can control and promote dialogue so they know they're not alone," she added.

To encourage attendance, all residents and alumni who complete the program will receive a $50 gift card. The incentive is working, with 12 to 15 men participating each week. 

"I've been very impressed by the level of investment by the men and their gratitude. One participant told me he was going to his room to get something. He came back with a discount coupon to Denny's as a thank you," said Pam.

She added, "This is a powerful program. They're able to see the responsibility they have to take for their own health and they will be able to make better health decisions."

Pam hopes to facilitate the program several times a year to reach new residents. She will also be conducting a life-skills supportive group every Wednesday once the six-week program ends.  

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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