Homeless healthcare is a crucial part of any person’s care plan when they walk through the doors at Depaul. This looks like many things for many people. For someone who has spent many cold nights on the street, it means looking after the most basic cuts, sores and infections so recovery can really begin.
“It can get so bad that your feet turn black… you can lose your toes.” — Nurse Ruth
Feet. Most of us take them for granted. But when you’re homeless, you don’t have that luxury. Around 70% of the people who come through Depaul’s doors have painful wounds and infections to their feet and lower legs.
Did you know there’s over 200,000 nerve endings in your feet? You can imagine how painful festering wounds and chronic infections are for the homeless people we treat at Depaul, with your help. When every footstep feels like fire, it makes getting around nearly impossible.
But because of Depaul’s supporters, there is always a place where Ireland’s homeless people can come and get the treatment and pain relief they need. A place they’ll be treated with kindness and compassion. And for Nurse Ruth, there’s nothing more important than treating every person with dignity.
“If you come in from the cold, your entire body is freezing… It gets to a point where you literally cannot get warm anymore. You
have really bad circulation, and every step you take is painful. It’s like needles going through your feet…”
“We see the worst wounds during the wet seasons. When you’re out there in the driving rain, your feet never get dry. They’re saturated in wet socks and it makes infections worse.” —Nurse Ruth
Many people we treat here at Depaul tell us about the stigma they’ve felt while accessing mainstream healthcare. It takes a great deal of compassion and sensitivity to care for homeless people, explains Ruth.
“When foot wounds get infected, the feet begin to smell. It’s embarrassing for people and often it stops them going to the hospital. They feel they’ll be judged.”
But thanks to you, there is no judgement at Depaul. Here, everyone experiences dignity and respect.
“I don’t speak to them like a nurse. I’m friendly, laid back and non-judgemental. They don’t need to be lectured, they feel bad enough already.”
Dignity, humanity, compassion, relief… these are the precious, life-changing gifts you give. Come rain or shine, thank you for caring for Ireland’s most vulnerable homeless people.