Peter has slept rough for years, spent time in prison and has had numerous flats. In his 50’s, he appears to enjoy the role he has defined for himself caring for others who are homeless, writing poetry, which he sells, and his social contacts. Self-neglect and depression, however, are also a part of his life.
Money made from selling his poetry on the streets and a small pension make it difficult for him to meet bureaucratic requirements to get a medical card. This ensures he has no medical cover apart from the good will of GP’s. He is susceptible to infection due to his poor living conditions, bad diet, combined with heavy drinking bouts and occassional use of tranquillisers.
He recently got extensive grease burns to his hand from the chip pan he heats over a gas stove. His hand became very seriously infected and he complained of numbness around fingers, and severe pain.
When he came into us he was feeling extremely cold, tired and very lethargic. There was ‘tracking’ on his left arm and a lot of pain and discomfort.
We provided immediate medical help for him. He had little knowledge in relation to his condition and as a result was unable to effectively take his medication so we kept his medication on the premises and gave him two tablets in the morning and tablets in separate envelopes with written instructions for same throughout the remainder of the day.
Daily dressings, completion of antibiotic course, and vitamins worked successfully and his general well-being improved. He continues to bring us flowers weekly – we allow him to give as well as receive – a sign of our real friendship.