“I finally have a home after 32 years. Home sweet home.”
Those were the words of a man who, after years of living on the streets, had a place to go home to when he was discharged from St. Paul’s Hospital last month. Hearing those words was “sheer joy” for social worker Faizal Alladina, and a reminder of why he’s in his line of work.
“It was nice to hear because I don’t think he had a concept of home before that. His home was sleeping in alleys, on people’s couches, and in shelters,” says Faizal, who works as a float social worker for Providence Health Care.
It was during a time on a medicine unit that Faizal was called upon to help “Mr. S.” The man was admitted to acute care with encouragement from his community social worker. His admission was precipitated by poor medication adherence resulting in frequent seizures. Substance use was also a factor.
Faizal met with Mr. S almost daily to explain the reasons for his admission and assess his understanding of his own situation.
“It was a dialogue that we had to have with him every day so that he could see the importance of staying in the hospital. We worked collaboratively with him to come up with a safe and sound discharge plan that was consistent with his goals.”
He’s been a social worker for 15 years, but Faizal still finds it difficult to define exactly what he does.
“We’re such generalists, we do everything,” he says.
Social workers liaise with patients and their families and community services. They act as advocates, counsellors, administrators, facilitators, mediators, organizers and researchers who help to ensure patients have a smooth hospital stay, discharge and recovery.
Many of the clients Faizal works with at St. Paul’s are Downtown Eastside residents or seniors, and a growing number of his clients are both. He provides support, referral and resource information on housing, assisted living, mental health services, financial services and much more.
“It’s a lot of coordinating and collaborating and communicating,” he says.
More at the source
Providence Health & Services: We are a system of passionate providers focused on partnering with you to simplify health care. With 50 hospitals, 829 clinics and hundreds of locally driven programs, we are improving the health of communities we serve, especially the poor and vulnerable.