A Day in the Life of a PICS Intern at Montefiore Medical Center

By Mina Musthafa

As I reflect upon my internship at Montefiore Medical Center’s Housing at Risk Program, one particular day comes to mind. That was when I truly understood how diverse a day could be while working with my team, where we help patients with chronic and complex medical conditions find suitable housing. Such a housing crisis becomes especially evident in the backdrop of the rising housing market and public health policy infrastructure of New York City, where I quickly caught on to the jargon the social workers on my team professionally threw around.

This was the office building where I worked every day–non-descript, yes, save for the big blue sign declaring its affiliation to Montefiore. What I initially thought was a strange outpost of a building to house a Montefiore program was actually quite common–all over the Bronx. It seemed that the entire borough had scatterings of these buildings which seemed like multi-family homes on the outside, but were populated by hardworking individuals dedicated to the care of their patients on the inside.

It was on the third floor of this building where I shared an office with two social workers, my Project Manager Keona Serrano and Madeline Gotay, who I often visited the hospital with.

In fact, on one such visit, Keona and I visited an elderly patient who had been living in his car for the past few years, and who had self-admitted for illness. He was getting close to discharging from the hospital, so Keona and I were educating him on his available housing options, with the goal for him to decide on one that could provide a pathway for him to become stably housed. By the end, however, he expressed his decision to remain living in his car. As this was his choice, we consulted with his attending physician and floor social workers to assess if this was medically safe for him. While it was not advisable in general, we needed to ensure it was at least medically clear for him to continue living in his car. After some speculation, the patient gave us the color and brand of his car, mentioning that he thought he had parked on the second level of the garage over a week ago. With some doubt as to his memory and his car keys in hand, Keona and I went to the parking garage and checked the second floor: no luck. We reasoned he must be mistaken and checked the ground floor, then the first level. Still, the key never fit. We worked our way up all six levels over an hour, hoping as we got to the top that it would be sitting, waiting for us.

We were rewarded with a gorgeous view, but little else. Now we were starting to wonder how the patient could leave if we couldn’t find his car. Our doubt expanding further, we decided to give the other parking garage a shot, though I had little hope given it was two blocks further from the hospital. Yet, there it was, parked on the second floor in the exact color and brand the patient had indicated. We were shocked to have found it, and after a quick assessment, went back to report to the patient on the condition of his car. When we told him we had found his car exactly where he said he had parked it, he responded, unsurprised:

“Of course!”

Date posted: July 28, 2019 | | Comments Off on A Day in the Life of a PICS Intern at Montefiore Medical Center | Health & Care Uncategorized