Caroline Doesn’t Give Up!

Caroline joined the team in Brighton back in February. We asked her to give us a story of a service user she has worked with, the challenges she faced and how she worked with them to move forward in a positive way. Read her story and find out what a Health Engagement Worker gets up to….

Recently I began working with a service user who came from quite a difficult situation. When he was referred to me he had just moved into his emergency accommodation. He didn’t know what benefits he was on, he was drinking up to a bottle of vodka a day and had not set up bills payments and was increasing his debt. He was only engaging with services sporadically.

At first it was incredibly challenging to engage with this service user and to build any kind of trust with him. His housing benefit was suspended twice, he missed two GP appointments which he needed in order to get a medical certificate as proof of not being able to work, and he received notification of debt from several organisations.

After two weeks of non-engagement I posted a note to him to say I was concerned about his lack of engagement but that I could not help him unless he made contact with me. Two days later he called to ask for support – and this was a real turning point for him.

Since re-engaging with Justlife, he has not drunk for over a month now, has attended two GP appointments and a health check with the nurse at Arch Healthcare and he is attending outpatients appointments at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. He has also joined the library, been out for walks and his accommodation is now clean and tidy. The service user now has benefits in place, payment plans for all bills have been established and his debts are being paid.

What’s really important in this case is that the service user now feels that he can manage the payments. He has been coming along to Justlife Coffee Mornings, drop-in, gardening club and the lunch club! He has also reconnected with an old friend who he is going to stay in contact with.

This service user now feels hopeful about his future. He wants to remain alcohol free, is looking into options and courses with the local Drug and Alcohol service and he is beginning to build up his social life again. He hopes to be able to visit his mother soon, he is on the waiting list for supported housing and he is keen to eventually get back to work.

When asked about his experience with Justlife he said: ‘I have had lots of support from Caroline and couldn’t ask for any more really. Thank You’.