Mercy Community has a number of specialist teams that reach out to vulnerable people in the community. Although we often work separately, sometimes we come together to create an amazing outcome for an individual. The Community Supports team is a relatively new team that works with vulnerable and isolated people in our community who often live alone at home. They may have no families, or broken family relationships, and they may have no friends. They often live a solitary life and Mercy Community support workers can be the only people that know their names.
In some ways the Community Supports team is the modern-day answer to society’s increasing isolation and breakdown of informal supports. Whereas once there would be helpful neighbours who would step in to help somebody who may need a meal or some help with the laundry, we now have a very busy network of professional support workers across Brisbane doing a similar role. They offer domestic support, personal care, and assistance with accessing community and medical support—as well as the capacity to listen and understand. It is a very critical and busy role that can often mean the difference of life and death for a person.
The importance of Mercy Community outreach teams in the community can be demonstrated with the story of a lovely lady who lives on the northside, let’s call her ‘Dorothy,’ who has been kindly supported by the NDIS team for many years. This is a shining example of how we can all come together to share our knowledge and wisdom for the benefit of those who need it.
Dorothy is in her 70s and lives alone. She has reached an age in life where her health is quickly deteriorating, and she requires increased support. Dorothy had some distant family that she had been recently reunited with and some neighbours who tried to keep an eye on her, however her greatest support was the NDIS team that came in regularly to see her.
Although the program had been transferred to the Community Supports team it still relied on the NDIS workers to visit. Concerned workers were starting to notice that her needs were increasing and that the risks of her living alone were becoming too great.
In partnership with the NDIS team, the Community Supports team quickly arranged an assessment of Dorothy’s safety at home, liaison with the Aged Care Assessment Team, and access to a placement in a Mercy Community aged care residential service.
This was all done with care and sensitivity, communicating clearly with Dorothy and her family interstate, each step of the way. It is a great relief to us and to her family to know that Dorothy will be living in a safe environment where she will be surrounded by friendly staff and other residents. She is a natural socialite so this will be an additional benefit for her.
Such an outcome could not have occurred without the combination of practice wisdom and compassion from the different programs under the Community Supports team, the NDIS team and Mercy Community’s Residential Aged Care Services team. Dorothy needed to continue to receive a high level of professional support throughout the aged care assessment process, she needed the compassion of the Support Coordinator who continued to contact her and her family, and she needed the expert experience of the Home Care team and the Residential Aged Care team to bring about this success.
If you’d like to know more, please contact the Community Supports team on 07 3621 8762.