• Steph Stephens, SJC Community Worker

Working together to help clients

A month ago, we received a phone call from a concerned friend of one of our clients. The friend said that he was really worried about John (not his real name) as he was in significant pain from a medical condition.

I was aware of this condition as I had been advocating on John’s behalf with Centrelink for some time, to arrange a Health Care Card. Centrelink were having problems processing his application and he was still waiting on the card.

The result of not having the Health Care Card was that he couldn’t afford to have his medical condition treated. He had developed further complications and was now very physically and mentally unwell. I contacted John and he was extremely upset explaining that he had no one to ask for help apart from St Johns Care (SJC).

He was starving and had no money for petrol or food, and he wouldn’t have been able to drive anyway because he was so sick. He also had no credit on his phone so was unable to contact us or anyone for assistance.

I quickly realised that John was going downhill fast and needed immediate help. I organised a food basket and drove out to his house with the Raw Potential Youth Worker Nicolle. We also took some dog food with us for his dog.

The very fact that we had visited John at home made such a difference to him and combined with the food, John was in much better spirits by the time we left. We also paid some of his phone bill and for his prescriptions, which he needed for the pain. However, we still had the problem with his medical condition and the fact that Centrelink were unable to process his Health Care Card.

Coincidently, the next day myself and Jason, the Programs Manager, had a meeting with another community service. The situation with John was described to them and they said that they would pay for the treatment needed to help John. They explained that Centrelink attend their Centre at every Monday to help people who struggle with the Centrelink structure.

The following week John had his treatment and immediately felt better. As he had also attended the other Centre to see Centrelink, the problem with his Health Care Card was quickly resolved. The value of collaborating with other services is immeasurable and as we have seen with Johns situation, can save lives. The staff at SJC also work together to achieve the best outcome for the people attending the Centre.

Part of my job here at SJC is to refer people on to other services and organisations that can help with individual needs. By referring John like this, another SJC client was assisted in the best possible way.

John was so grateful to everyone at SJC for the part they played in his recovery and he regularly pops in just to say hello.

SJC wish list this week: Milo, Cup-a-Soup, packet pasta meals, honey.

Steph Stephens - Community Worker

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