YOU & I: Case manager Marianne Troupe enjoys thinking outside the box to meet the needs of home care client Charles Wainwright.
Charles started as a client with us in the beginning of last year. He had just had a second below-knee amputation and he was living in public housing and required extra support. When I first met Charles, it was about identifying what his needs were. He was in a one-bedroom unit that was not equipped for anyone with any type of disability.
His partner Trish, who is his carer, was also commuting between her daughter’s place in Melbourne and Charles’ house because there was nowhere for her to stay.
It was difficult for him, so we put in an application to the housing department for more appropriate accommodation and were told there would be a two-year wait. During that time, Trish had a mini-stroke and was experiencing carer stress.
I tried to move the whole process forward and we were successful in relocating Charles to a larger unit in a different suburb of Ballarat, which was fantastic. It is a two-bedroom unit and has full disability access. He has clear pathways to all rooms in the unit. The sink and stove are at his level and he is able to cook. The shower has also been modified to meet his needs.
Charles has always been active throughout his life, particularly walking, so it was important to work closely with physiotherapists and occupational therapists to focus on getting back his mobility. He was trying on the prosthesis but that was very difficult for him. It also takes time, so he used his funding for a motorised wheelchair. We were also able to get him an adjustable bed, which enables him to get out of his wheelchair.
We have set Charles up to be very self-sufficient, with his own independence. He does all his own shopping now, and his dishes at home. He has someone to come in and clean once a week, which is great.
He has a new level of autonomy and can make his own decisions.
I’ve noticed a massive difference in his socialisation as he is able to get out of the house. His partner is also able to come stay with him and is moving in full-time. We have helped Charles access a financial loan through Good Shepherd to purchase a car, so that when Trish comes to stay, she can drive him.
His new unit is also very close to a community centre, so he is now engaged with computer courses and he is learning to use a Breezie tablet.
There were two things he wanted to do in learning digital skills. The first was to connect with his daughter in Perth through Facebook, which he has been able to do. He is also able to connect with friends that he hasn’t had contact with for a very long time. He also wants to find his family.
Charles was adopted, and his family was in Canada, so we funded an ancestry.com membership for him. We will also talk to the Canadian embassy to try to track down the information he needs so he can continue with that process.
It’s been so fulfilling to help Charles get back to what is important to him and enable him to stay at home and fulfil his goals.
I was in hospital and the transition care program put me in touch with Marianne.
The support I receive has had a really good impact on my life. I’m more independent now. I can do what I want to do. I’m not stuck at home all the time.
I cook, I have my own shower, and do everything myself.
I wanted to learn the computer. I’m getting there, slowly. It’s confusing sometimes, but I’m getting there. I’m going back this year to do more computer courses.
I’m also going to the Men’s Shed because I like carpentry. It’s great because I can get out once a week to the Men’s Shed and that gives me a day of doing something. I’m happy that Marianne has done that for me.
I’ve also started researching my ancestry. I was adopted when I was four years old. I just got the paperwork. I only have three sisters left, but I have to try to find out where they are. I’m having a bit of trouble with my father’s side of the family because I don’t have his parents’ details. I only have the year that he was born and the year that he died, so it’s making it very difficult.
I have regular meetings with Marianne where I talk about what I need. I like that I can have a say and we can plan my package together.
As told to Linda Belardi.
This article appears in the current Autumn edition of Community Care Review magazine.