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Table 6 Participants’ advice for an ideal clinic

From: “Service with open arms”: enhancing community healthcare experiences for individuals with a history of incarceration

 Illustrative Quote
Communicate regularlyMake somebody believe that they’re worth something and that you care, so I mean a lot of guys don’t have cell phones right away, so it’s hard to get in contact with them, or they might not even have an address. But if they have an address or a cell phone or something, do a follow up… just say yeah Mr. [name] we’re just calling, checking up on you, you know we will be seeing you soon, how are you doing today? Doing out there? Is there any resources that we can provide for you?
Offer timely careIf it was my clinic you’d come right in, you’d get seen that day, you would get checked up that day.
Take concerns seriouslyListen to what’s going on, what he has to say to you, and really take the situation of the care of the health serious…A lot of times they feel like ‘oh inmates just say anything, just to get off the dorm just to go here, just to do this,’ but it’s not like that all the time. Some people are really sick in there. And I mean, just take it serious, really though. Take the inmate serious, that’s all.
Coordinate with correctionsI was thinking like maybe they should have gave you like resources or options to go like to free clinics, where people with no insurance could like, maybe they could send a person there instead of just starting them right out in the water.
Prioritize mental healthWhen you work with these guys mainly stay focused on their mental…They need more mental help than they do probably physical. And they really do.
Offer social service supportYou have the basic necessities…where you gonna live, housing, of course employment, support groups.
Provide incentivesMaybe offering something like, you know, if you come we have meals, hot meals served, you know with your visit. Um, some sort of incentive I guess.
Provide a caring and non-judgmental environmentJust listen and try to see from their perspective first.
I think that the more comfortable the facility, the more inviting a facility, for the staff to really be trained to…be motherly almost, to be comforting, to show that that comfort and acceptance is probably the most important thing.
Don’t treat them like they’re institutionalized…people who are institutionalized and people who have been in the system for so long, they’re used to a certain type of personality. They’re used to overseers. You know what I mean? Kind of treat people softer, maybe use humor.
No discrimination against you…it would be service with open arms. We there to take care of you, no matter what your situation is. We understand that you just getting out, but we are here to help you.
Don’t judge the book by the cover. Everyone has their own story and every story is different. How you go about dealing with the situations is this, listen to the problem from the mouth of the person who has the problem.