How can we make Health Choices Easy Choices for vulnerable and homelessness people?
This is a question that Baptist Care SA is currently exploring by
speaking with people that come into our WestCare Centre each day.
An interview with a 50 year old Aboriginal man who is currently sleeping rough revealed a tragic insight into his story:
John (not his real name) has had 3 admissions to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in as many weeks due to his chronic liver cirrhosis caused by 20 years of alcoholism. Each separate hospital admission follows the same pattern whereby the medical team investigates his current presenting symptom and come to the eventual conclusion that John’s alcohol abuse is the root of the problem and discharge follows.
As John has no place to go, each discharge results in him returning to the streets and his alcohol, until the next time he requires hospital admission. The multiple ambulance callouts have resulted in a debt of over $2000 which John is unable to pay. Legal action from the government is to follow regarding the debt.
When asked about the reasons for his alcohol habit, John explains that in part he self-medicates with alcohol for pain management for hip and pelvis injuries sustained when struck by a car, however, the primary reason is that it helps mask the pain of his broken heart following the death of his wife from cancer. Whilst he has been to detox for his alcoholism multiple times, after each successful detox he is discharged back onto the street where he consistently falls straight back into his 1 bottle of port a day habit.
Reflection: Please pray with us that ‘light’ will ‘shine in the darkness’ of the tragic circumstances of vulnerable lives and that people will find grace and encouragement through the services that Baptist Care is able to provide on behalf of the Baptist churches of SA.
A rigorous, structured consultation is being undertaking with government agencies and many other community organisations including Aboriginal-led organisations, in order to gain deeper insight into how Baptist Care SA might respond to the needs of people like John in the future. We trust that this work will enable us to further develop the range of services that can be offered from our ‘sanctuary in the city’ as we plan for future development of the service and facilities at WestCare.
Blessings to you for taking the time to read and prayerfully consider the needs and aspirations of our state’s most vulnerable people.
Chief Executive Officer
Baptist Care SA