At the start of 2014, the ACET care staff responded to new referrals with diverse care support needs. The subsequent relationships built from these referrals involved support around stigma, addiction, disclosure, social inclusion and parent-child dynamics. During the same period, notable health challenges presented themselves with many existing clients. While overall health is always a main focus within our care work, extremely compromised medical conditions required a need for increased flexibility in approach. What resulted from this was more in-home and hospital care visits and phone support preventing further marginalisation and vulnerability. In 2014, there were 28 families and 67 clients needing intensive support. We also supported a number of individuals and extended client family members with one-off specific HIV support, resourcing, referrals.
The support included:
- Family care visits – 225
- Youth care visits – 84
- Adult home care visits – 501 home care visits (381 by staff; 120 by volunteers)
- Clinic/medical accompaniment – 67
- Numerous respite days including residential provision for 21 adult and youth clients
- Counselling/bereavement – 67
Early spring also brought a women’s event specifically focusing on self-care and holistic support. These events are intentionally created with clients through care planning and identifying needs, such as personal development, peer support and positive mental health. Additionally, a pilot youth afternoon was held during mid-term break as a response to family referrals where parent and youth clients required respite and individualised mentorship. Follow-up youth activities were also provided during the Easter holidays which helped to initiate more summer plans and continued to build key relationships with the youth clients and their families.
Post-summer, considerable time was spent supporting clients and family members accessing health checks and HIV testing. There were a number of hospital-related care visits and supports offered to clients, including issues such as adherence to medication and addressing needs for respite following extended in-patient hospitalisation. In accordance with our family model, this meant extended support to family members during these hospital stays. Practically, ACET support through this time addressed a range of hardship issues for clients, including clothing, food, and providing advocacy towards welfare entitlements. During this time, an interagency approach was key for liaising with and referring clients to relevant supports including residential respite with a medical focus.
For many of those ACET work with, there are a number of bereavement anniversaries that occur toward the end of the year and the care team allocate specific time and space for vital emotional support. Another key challenge was preparing clients for the financial and social pressures of the weeks approaching Christmas. Bearing this in mind, one of the most consistent responses to this is our Hamper Project. This was successfully completed with donated and individualised hampers that are then delivered using an integrated care plan specifically focusing on many dynamics that come up at this time of year.
The summer featured a multi-family residential respite to the Cavan Centre over 3 days for 21 clients, including a newly integrated family to ACET’s family work.
We had a number of new clients referred to us who have had quite a range of diverse care plans through choosing to regularly engage with ACET’s care model.
ACET saw excellent adherence to HIV medication with specific clients and therefore moving to quarterly appointments, as well as moving to new & easier medications.
ACET experienced engagement with clients experiencing isolation when other services and resources weren’t necessarily available to them.
We provided a self-care focus on various types of respite days including women’s events, therapeutic space and residential opportunities.