In February, our Legacy Society gathered at the Mary Isaak Center for a delicious meal and a captivating chat with Pat Higgins, COTS’ Lead Recuperative Care Specialist. COTS would like to thank everyone for attending and demonstrating an enduring investment in COTS’ mission, ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come.  


In 2014, COTS identified a new need facing the community. After being discharged, our neighbors experiencing homelessness needed a safe space to continue their healing journeys for injuries, illnesses, surgeries, etc. With continuous care, these individuals could heal well and reduce the number of returns to the hospital or calls for emergency services.  


COTS sought to fill the gap and transformed the former library at the Mary Isaak Center into a respite unit of four beds. These four beds supported the community until 2017, when the unit had to close indefinitely.  


Not giving up on COTS’ goals, in 2020, the respite unit was reopened under the name of the Recuperative Care Unit (RC) and now had 6 beds. This unit continues to serve clients today with medical transportation, appointments, wound care, and coordination of physical therapy or home health appointments. The Recuperative Care unit provides an area for clients to participate in their exercises and checkups without an audience of spectators.  


Beyond medical services, COTS’ Red Tape Club helps RC clients get their documents ready, such as IDs, medical cards, social security cards, etc. Additionally, the Red Tape Club assists in securing employment, social security deposits, and understanding other legal jargon that may be standing in their way of becoming housed.  


As their paperwork processes, COTS also gives RC clients access to housing assistance, substance abuse and recovery programs, and counseling as part of the whole person approach. According to some of our previous clients, COTS’ services are life changing. One specific client, who is currently housed, told Pat, “That if it wasn’t for all the services, not only COTS’ Recuperative Care [provided], but COTS in general provided, I wouldn’t be housed right now, nor would I have the confidence to be housed”.  


Another client had been homeless for 15 years and dreamed of being in a home again, but he did not know how to make his dream come true. Now he has been housed for 6 months and accredits COTS with giving him the tools and confidence to succeed. As he is fully employed and has advanced his position with a promotion, he pays it forward by volunteering in the kitchen at the Mary Isaak Center.  


Last year, Recuperative Care’s 6 bed unit served 50 individual clients, with 80% of them not returning to the hospital and 92% of them transitioning to the Mary Isaak Center, assisted living, or housing. With 80% not returning to the hospital, local nursing facilities, hospitals, emergency care, and other medical facilities have more manageable patient loads and have available spaces for urgent life-and-death situations. RC also saves money without sacrificing care. On average, it costs about $6,500 for someone to stay in the ER for 24 hours, which will add up quickly if someone does not have a safe place to go after a surgery, injury, or illness and must frequently return to the ER’s care. At COTS, a stay of 24 hours costs about $212. When COTS can provide continuous care for an individual, the overall costs of their care decrease substantially. 


While we have seen a lot of success in RC, COTS has also identified two more emerging groups that can benefit from COTS’ programs. There has been a large growth in seniors experiencing homelessness as well as those experiencing homelessness for the first time in their lives.   


Considering the growing need for more care, COTS will expand the Recuperative Care unit from 6 beds to 20 this year! The renovated unit will have a more welcoming environment with a dining area for clients, new room doors, and a fresh coat of paint on top of the new layout. This expansion will help reduce or even eliminate any waitlist that may arise. 


Stay tuned for more updates.