The following is one in a series of articles highlighting the work of agencies funded by the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton.
By Alexandra L’Heureux
The staff and volunteers in the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) dedicate themselves to individuals recovering from illness.
VON offers several programs including personal support, home care and community services to ensure an individual’s entire wellbeing during recovery. VON uses funding to help support the programs and individuals participating in the programs. The Friendly Visiting Program, Foot Care Program and Charitable Nursing Program all rely on annual funding from the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton.
Isolated individuals with disabilities or seniors use the Friendly Visiting Program. Volunteers visit clients twice each month to help keep morale and positivity in these individual’s lives. The volunteer engages with the person in activities within the community or in their home. The Friendly Visiting Program is invaluable to the isolated individuals, making them feel important for themselves and the community.
The Foot Care Program is available to individuals who are unable to properly care for their feet problems due to arthritis, decreased manual or visual dexterity, musculoskeletal problems or other health problems making foot care impossible. Individuals and seniors may receive various services to aid in their foot care such as removal of corns and calluses, proper toenail trimming and padding to relieve pain from bunions, hammertoes and other sources. If a foot care nurses advise clients of further treatment when early signs of foot problems are detected, doctors’ visits and even hospitals stays may well be avoided. Foot care professionals also help clients prevent foot care problems by considering proper footwear etc. Nurses pay special attention to diabetics, working to prevent diabetic-related lower extremity amputations. Knowledge and advice are provided to all individuals with foot care problems.
The Charitable Nursing Program aids seniors who are experiencing barriers when trying to receive health services. When the health service is required to a senior citizen and there is no other resource, a charitable nurse is able to provide health assessments, immunizations, injections and foot care to clients. Individuals that are barred from health services due to the lack of physicians or being ineligible for provincially funded programs can feel secure knowing they have another option in the Charitable Nursing Program.
These programs would be difficult to sustain without funding from United Way. United Way has committed annual investments of $15,000 to the Charitable Nursing Program, $18,500 to the Foot Care Program, and $20,000 to the Friendly Visiting Program. Without this funding the seniors and adults with disabilities would be left out of the community and would not be able to receive the health care they require.
The dignity and purpose individuals feel through the VON Programs is significant for their families and for the community.
All programs are designed with the goal for clients to increase independence and enhance personal control over their health related concerns. These programs are proven effective to decrease hospital admissions, improve quality of life, and delay the need for long term care.
Alexandra L’Heureux is a recent university graduate and United Way of Sarnia-Lambton volunteer.