How a Dorset hospice helped a patient get back on his feet after homelessness

Categories: Care and People & Places.

A Dorset man who was made homeless is now in a flat and getting the help and treatment he needs thanks to the efforts of Weldmar Hospicecare community nursing team in Dorset.

The patient, whose identity is being kept confidential, was given an urgent referral to Weldmar after months of being moved around different services within the healthcare system, and his case was picked up by Weldmar Community Nurse Coordinator Lorna Hallett for an initial assessment.

Getting urgent help before lockdown

“I went to see him and it was clear that he was very ill,” explains Lorna. “He had to leave his previous accommodation during the first wave of the pandemic because his landlady had to shield, and he ended up on the street.  After a spell in hospital, he was put into a hotel and then a shared residence, but needed to be in his own place to self-isolate while he is getting his radiotherapy treatment.”

“He had gone through a particularly difficult route to his diagnosis, and when I went to see him he was unable to claim any of the help that should have been available to him.”

Thankfully, his GP issued a DS1500 form, which allowed him to access accommodation, benefits and grants, and Lorna set to work contacting relevant organisations in a bid to speed up what can be a lengthy and complicated process.

“With lockdown literally just about to start, it was a very stressful time for him,” says Lorna.  “He was told he could move into a flat the following day, but had no idea where it was.  He only had a few clothes and belongings.  I spoke about his case at the daily meeting of the South Area Community Team, and Assistant Practitioner Debby Dewland was in action immediately.”

Providing holistic care

By the time Lorna had seen the patient later that day, Debby had contacted Gavin Anderson-Terry, Director of Retail, to find out if there was any way Weldmar could help with furniture and basic items for the flat.

With shops just about to close down for the second national lockdown there was no time to waste, and the Clearance Outlet in Dorchester was able to put together a number of items – a bed, an armchair, a table and chair to sit and eat at, and basic kitchen utensils including a kettle.

“We were also able to provide a fridge,” says Gavin, “which the team from our Weymouth Outlet were collecting from someone that day.  It was all very last minute, but it just shows what we can do when we all work together.

A team effort

“The patient is clearly going through a very difficult time, but was very appreciative for everything we have been able to help him with.  It was a fantastic team effort.”

Lorna says she’s really appreciative of what was done.  “Debby was just superb, she was on the case immediately.  And Gavin may be a director of the charity, but he really mucked in, giving the patient his number in case there was anything he needed, and helping to deliver the items for the flat.

“This is a case where I think that we have made a significant difference.  We have really impacted this young man’s life, and those involved did a fantastic job.  It just shows that everyone at Weldmar is so passionate about what we do.”

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