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Columbus House Respite Program

Columbus House, INC.
586 Ella Grasso Boulevard
New Haven, Connecticut 06519
United States
Takisha Highsmith
Phone Number:
(203) 401-4400

The Columbus House Respite Program is located on the third floor of our emergency shelter on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. Private rooms for 12 clients, with a length-of-stay of up to four weeks, enable the program to serve approximately 96 individuals per year. Potential Respite Program clients include: patients with recurrent emergency room visits for poorly-controlled diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); patients with cellulitis that can receive outpatient IV or oral antibiotics and monitoring rather than hospitalization; and post-operative or post-trauma patients who need wound care and recuperation. The program is staffed by one Columbus House Case Manager to coordinate primary care, behavioral health services, substances abuse treatment and social services referrals. The Case Manager will begin the process of assisting the client achieve their next level of housing while receiving short term recuperative care. Visiting Nurse Services are provided based on clients Agency preference. The Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center provides a clinician two evenings per week. In addition, Columbus House maintains staff for 24-hour supervision and transportation from the hospital and to medical facilities for off-site appointments as needed.

Operating Agency:
Facility Type:
Homeless Shelter
Number of Beds:
Hours of Operation:
24/7, Case manager presence and referrals accepted from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday
Average Length of Stay:
4 weeks
Admission Criteria:

The goal of the Respite Program is to provide a time-limited “home” environment where patients who are experiencing homelessness not needing a hospital level of care can recover from medical illnesses. Please note that the Respite Program is not a skilled nursing facility.
Patient referred to the Respite Program MUST:
• Be homeless
• Have a medical need requiring a respite bed
• Be able to complete all activities of daily living independently, including bathing, dressing, transferring, etc.
• Be continent of bowel and bladder
• Be able to ambulate independently. Assistive devices (crutches, wheelchairs) are permitted.
• Be tolerating solid food and not requiring IV hydration
• Be free from signs or symptoms of influenza or tuberculosis (if unexplained cough, weight loss, or other symptoms of possible tuberculosis, patients need documentation of appropriate screening before being sent to the Respite Program)
• Be alert and oriented and not be actively psychotic such that they are a danger to themselves or others
• Be able to comply with rules prohibiting substance use (drugs or alcohol) while in the Respite Program.
• Patients in methadone programs are permitted. Patients who have received benzodiazepine tapers for alcohol detox must be free of signs of withdrawal for at least 48 hours after the last dose of benzodiazepine.
• Have an expected length of stay in the Respite Program not exceeding 30 days. Medical issues to be addressed at the Respite Program should be time limited and have an identified endpoint.
• Be cognitively able and willing to comply with treatment requirements of the Respite Program which, at a minimum, means accepting Visiting Nurse Services, engaging with case management, and taking medications as prescribed
Examples of patients NOT suitable for the Respite Program are:
• Patients with a primary psychiatric need
• Patients who primarily need shelter/housing, without a medical need
• Patients who would be better served in a skilled nursing facility or hospice facility

Clinical Staff:
Nurse Practitioner, Nurse, Social Worker
Support Services Provided:
Meals, Transportation, Case Management
Funding Sources:
Local/State Government, Foundations