Home care in the buffer zone: assistance and support from Caritas

Home care in the buffer zone: assistance and support from Caritas

Caritas Ukraine has been implementing “Home care in the buffer zone” project for the second year running. The project was created for the purpose of health and social support for lonely elderly people and palliative patients. The assistance is provided by social workers – employed local citizens. The project was implemented with the financial support of Caritas Austria and Austrian Development Agency.

At the beginning of the project, Caritas representatives had monitored villages in the buffer zone, controlled by the Ukrainian government, and collected information about people in need. Afterwards, local citizens not indifferent to neighbour’s sufferings formed assistance teams to support elderly and ill people.

The project engaged 200 local citizens, who work in different parts of the buffer zone. Each has participated in training courses “Care for patients who require outside help. Assistance. Psychological support. Movement”. About 600 citizens of the buffer zone are receiving assistance under the project.

Not everything went so smoothly at the beginning of the project. According to the local coordinator Ivan Ivaschenko, a part of future good doers treated fund’s staff with suspicion, especially in villages remote from district centres, where people in need got used to being left on their own. But politeness, understanding, compassion and individual approach to each person, seeking assistance from Caritas, gave their positive result. At present, individuals in need are looking forward to fund’s staff visits not only to receive medical advice and assistance, but to share their problems and achievements.

Olga Chebuk, medical expert from Maryinka says that when she joined the project a year ago, she saw mistrust in people’s eyes, but quite soon wards were grateful for her aid and care. ‘My biggest achievement under the project is that now even the most scandalous citizens visit us and treat us with respect and trust. I thank Caritas for this opportunity to fulfil myself and for the help to my fellows!’ Olga adds.

It should be mentioned that Caritas has 20-year experience in providing medical and social support according to the place of residence. At present, all Home care services are provided in compliance with state standards for palliative care. Taras Artemenko, Project Coordinator at Caritas Mariupol explains details of cooperation with people providing care and assistance. ‘Local citizens work with them under cooperation agreements. Each takes care of three old or disabled persons. They visit their wards five days per week and do all necessary housework during one hour’.

Furthermore, according to Yurii Nakonechnyi, Manager of Caritas Ukraine medical projects, the demand for such type of assistance is increasing now, though resources are shrinking. ‘People started to feel Caritas support and need in medical projects in particular. Medical and social support for citizens of occupied regions, where situation with need is even more acute, remains the most urgent’, Yurii Nakonechnyi adds.

It is extremely important for a person, especially a lonely, ill and old one, to have people who care, who are ready to help and support in difficulty beside them. It is difficult to find words to explain feelings of a person who has nobody even to talk to. ‘It is painful, but all my relatives died and now I am alone. I have received medicine, toiletries and what is more important – attention and care from Caritas team’, a citizen from Andriivka shares her impressions about the project.

Caritas Ukraine staff are extremely devoted to their work and treat their ward as close people. ‘I am sight-disabled person (completely blind). I was left alone, no relatives, nobody at all. I needed assistance and care. Thanks to Caritas I got medical support and medicine, I also received firewood in winter. The most important for me is my Olga from Caritas. She cooks, cleans the house, brings water, firewood, helps to fire up a stove, does the shopping, washes me, cuts my hair and does things I cannot manage myself. And she is also writing a letter for me. She is my eyes and hands’, the project ward from Vilkhova tells about the project.

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