Isolation can be a huge factor affecting an individual’s wellbeing, especially when they don’t have immediate family or friends to support them or when external factors such as lockdown restrictions mean everyday life has to change. Our Staying Well team offer regular befriending calls that have become a lifeline for many individuals who feel lonely or isolated for a multitude of reasons.
This was certainly the case for 64 year-old Pavel*, who was referred to our Staying Well project by housing agency, Together Housing. Pavel had several health issues including epilepsy, mobility issues and a skin condition that required regular treatment and dressing. Having become estranged from his family, Pavel spent much of his time alone and this was compounded by COVID restrictions and the run up to Christmas when many people can feel isolated.
It was agreed that our Staying Well team would undertake befriending calls with Pavel to check on his wellbeing and offer him emotional support whilst he was feeling low. Pavel’s mood had been low for some time but in a call a few days before Christmas our befriending team noticed he just wasn’t himself. He said he was in some pain but did not want to elaborate. During the call Pavel became unresponsive which became an immediate concern and prompted a member of our Staying Well team to immediately contact the emergency services. We also called the agency responsible for his medical care, Trailblazers, who had a scheduled visit with Pavel later that evening.
An ambulance was sent to check on Pavel and arrived at the same time as his care team from Trailblazers, at which point it was discovered he had suffered an epileptic seizure. Pavel was taken straight to hospital for further checks. Our Staying Well team remained in contact with Trailblazers who informed that Pavel had remained in hospital overnight but was stable and in a good condition. Pavel wanted them to let us know he felt the befriending call had saved his life.
We continue to work with Pavel by contacting him every week and updating his care team as necessary. It has become clear since Christmas that Pavel requires more visits than he had been receiving previously and his social worker is now putting this in place.
*Name and image changed to protect individual’s identity.