In October 2023, Calvin, Compris’ co-founder, was recognized by leadership for going above and beyond in the community he serves as an ER Care Manager at Advocate Trinity, a neighborhood hospital on the south side of Chicago.
When an 80 year old man, we’ll call Samuel, was admitted to the hospital, he required placement in a long term care facility. He was the sole caregiver of his wife suffering from dementia, still at home and unsafe alone. Samuel was scared to be separated from his wife, and worried he would never see her again. Although his brother came in from out-of-state to help, he couldn’t take care of her and dropped her off at the ER. Calvin’s patient-centered intervention kept the couple together by admitting her to the same hospital room as her husband to await placement together into a long term care facility.
“[This couple] would be living separate lives today, and [their] health and security in real jeopardy had we not found a way to support them being together while working on placement for both”, Calvin wrote to Trinity’s leadership team. “We were able to enlist distant family, landlords, preferred area network (PAN) partners, and even bank agents to complete the necessary screening paperwork so this lovely family could transition to their new home together, and all in the same week we first learned of their needs.”
The first time Calvin was honored at Trinity was in February 2014 when the hospital presented him with the “MVP Leader for Compassion” award. On a cold snowy winter night, a wheelchair confined, unhoused man, (we’ll call Carl), was planning to sleep in the hospital’s ER waiting room for the weekend. Homeless shelters wouldn’t accept Carl in a wheelchair. He couldn’t wheel his chair through the snow to pick up his monthly disability check at his PO box, and he had no other transportation.
“I couldn’t leave a guy like that with no options”, Calvin said. So, Calvin took him to pick up his check, cash it at a currency exchange, and took him to two motels before he found a vacancy. The next day, Carl called the hospital and told them how appreciative he was of what Calvin had done for him.
Not being able to get home after a hospital visit or sleeping in an ER waiting room are examples of a broken healthcare system, fueled by social determinants of health (SDoH). Calvin has witnessed a great many difficulties his patients experience in this under-resourced neighborhood, all of which contribute to the cascading risks of health problems. These include things like:
Decreased air quality in homes, such as mold, disrepair, and proximity to busy roads
Living paycheck to paycheck
Fatal accidents from poorly maintained roads and quick changing traffic lights
Higher gas prices
“....With lower incomes and limited health education support, over time, families experience the devastating impact of creeping chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and end stage renal disease on dialysis. They end up with escalating ER visits and hospitalizations 10 years earlier than the general public”, Calvin said.
“Trinity Hospital remains tiny, in both our physical, medical, and financial footprint,” he wrote. “But perhaps our strengths lie in our seasoned ‘know how’ when it comes to being a family to each other, and practicing that same commitment every day in the trenches on behalf of so many underserved, and under-resourced families we serve”.
Calvin brings that same philosophy of care to Compris, where compassion is one of our core values. Learn more about our commitment to making a difference for those whose SDoH increase their suffering from addictions and other behavioral health concerns.
Happy and healthy New Year!