March 20, 2018
Bill was struggling when he was first referred to Grand Pacific Health’s (GPH) Care Coordinators as part of the GPH Aboriginal Health team. He was suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and faced hospitalisation on a regular basis. Living in a caravan did not help. Bill had to walk outside to get to the bathroom, and the cold air in winter and humidity in summer exasperated his condition. The only thing he liked
about the place was ‘Wally the wombat’ who would occasionally come past for a visit and scratch his back on Bill’s railing.
GPH Care Coordinator, Winsome Watts can still remember the day she first met Bill, he was limping along with a bad knee and his worn out slippers weren’t helping. Winsome supported Bill through the Integrated Team Care program, that provides care coordination and some financial support to pay for ongoing costs related to medical care. The ITC program aims to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with
chronic health conditions through a team based and holistic approach.
Winsome supported Bill with the aim of reducing his number of hospitalisations because of his chronic disease. Through the program, she arranged a visit to his GP, who referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon for a knee replacement. Winsome then purchased Bill a much needed pair of new shoes and helped him with his application to the Department of Housing to find accommodation that was safe and clean.
In the meantime, Bill went into temporary accommodation where his health declined and he began rapidly losing weight.
He was then referred to Leah Spink- a dietitian at GPH, who due to his unexplained weight loss, prescribed nutritional supplements that ITC pay for to support his wellbeing.
Due to the fact that Bill’s Proof of Aboriginality documentation had been destroyed in a fire he faced difficulty accessing the local Aboriginal Service Provider. His Care Coordinators are supporting him to re-apply for his documentation.
Bill has now been allocated permanent accommodation- a unit, which he keeps as neat as a pin. He is also interested in attending the Friday Men’s Group and Tuesday morning breakfasts at the Homeless Hub - both facilitated by GPH. When asked how it has been working with Winsome and the team at GPH, Bill says: “I wouldn’t be here is it wasn’t for them.”
Bill is still receiving support as he requires ongoing tests and assistance but his number of unplanned hospitalisations has decreased significantly over the last 12 months (from 7 visits to 3).
“Bill is able to identify when he is going downhill and now knows the steps he can take to actively manage the situation and avoid hospital,” says Winsome.
“Bill’s success is due to his willingness to play an active role in his health management and I’m glad we have been able to help make his life a little easier as we support him to do this,” added Winsome.
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