Sunday, June 2
Temple De Hirsch Sinai
The merging of Rosehedge and Multifaith Works under RH Home Care allows two of Seattle's oldest HIV/AIDS service organizations to work together with equal strength to provide services to men and women living with HIV/AIDS. The two agencies bring with them a rich history of compassionate giving and skillful vision.
Both agencies started in 1988 as a reaction to the crisis presented by HIV/AIDS. Since Rosehedge opened their doors, over 500 people have called Rosehedge home. Multifaith Works has housed over 600 people in its history.
In the early days of both agencies, the programs focused on how to best provide for the dying as HIV quickly led to developing AIDS, which in turn led to a hastened death. Rosehedge responded by providing housing for those dying of the disease who had no where else to turn. Multifaith Works responded with two emotional support programs: CareTeams and Shanti, both models of non-judgmental, compassionate care. Multifaith also began their Housing Program in 1995, which at that time was a place for people with AIDS to die with dignity.
In 1992, at the request of the Seattle King County Department of Public Health, Rosehedge modified their focus of care to include individuals with additional diagnoses of mental illness, chemical addiction, and/or dementia. This portion of their caseload has increased dramatically since that time and has become the target population. To ensure that the high level of care was maintained, the agency increased the level of sophistication in treating this population, including upgrading the staff training program and hiring personnel with experience in working with this unique population.
In 1996, both agencies experienced a drastic change of course in the epidemic due to the introduction of protease inhibitors (PI's) for HIV/AIDS. These drugs allowed people with HIV to live longer and manage their illness. This aggressive treatment regimen suppresses HIV viral replication is referred to as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, or more commonly, HAART.
With the advent of HAART medications, residents in both Rosehedge and Multifaith began to stabilize, live longer, and become more active. The challenge was to become something other than how to best provide for those dying with HIV/AIDS, but rather, how to help those who are living with the disease. After clients began to live longer, Rosehedge noticed a decline in the need for ongoing 24 hour nursing care, so they eliminated the Private Duty Nursing Program and dedicated all of their beds to the Enhanced Assisted Living Program. Rosehedge is the only agency within the King County AIDS Continuum of Care that provides Enhanced Assisted Living. Multifaith Works responded to this change by unifying their houses under the "Transitional Housing Program" - a place where people who are homeless and living with HIV/AIDS can come to gain the skills necessary to maintain medical adherence, learn life skills and stabilize, and move on to permanent housing.