Man Finds Help Through Collaboration of Local Homeless Resources | Local News

Through the open door of his motel, Randall Morris could see a stretch of highway and a sparse grassy area. This is what he saw for several days from the seat of his wheelchair, placed between the two beds in the room and in front of a television.

Morris, who had both legs amputated due to bone disease, kept his door open all day, only closing it late at night once he was helped to get to bed. It was with the help of others that he was in Glynn County and staying in the motel, waiting for a place to be available at a health center in the area.

Morris did not intend to be in Glynn County. He was dropped off near Exit 29 with his wheelchair and a small personal belongings cart.

A few phone calls later, to Glynn County Police, Coastal Community Health Services and FaithWorks Ministries, Morris was taken over a week ago to a local motel when a more permanent solution was wanted.

Her struggle has highlighted the challenges that homeless people, especially those with serious medical conditions, can face when trying to get the support they need from the many resources in this area.

Limited options

Honey Sparre, who has worked with the homeless for over a decade, said the situation was one of the most difficult she has ever seen.

Sparre, director of homelessness ministries for FaithWorks, was one of the first people the police called after coming into contact with Morris.

“I was contacted on a Thursday afternoon by the Glynn County Police Department regarding an individual who was dropped off at the station. 29, ”Sparre said. “His condition has been described to me, and due to his physical limitations, he is a medical handicap to have both at The Salvation Army and (the day shelter) at the Well.”

Randall Morris sits in his wheelchair between beds in a room at the Royal Inn.

Sparre didn’t know what to do, but someone quickly intervened to pay for Morris’ room for three nights. Coastal Community Health Services staff were also contacted and they immediately began to contact contacts in the area to find out what care options are available for Morris, who is 53 years old and also suffers from type 2 diabetes. time, Sparre met him at the motel and saw with his own eyes how serious his situation was.

“He informed me that he hadn’t eaten all day and hadn’t had a bath and needed clean pants, so I left and took everything we needed and I came back, ”Sparre recalls.

She and a co-worker, Sheila Howard, washed and straightened Morris and helped him get to bed. They also brought him a hot meal.

“Back then, all he wanted was fish sandwiches from McDonald’s,” Sparre said with a laugh.

Morris’s journey began in Pennsylvania, where he lived with his parents. His mother, who was his primary caretaker, passed away recently, so Morris took a bus to Florida where he was told there was a spot available for him in an assisted living facility in St. Augustine.

After his arrival he had to be taken to hospital and when he was released he was unable to return to the facility.

He ended up sleeping in his wheelchair, Sparre said, and police quickly told him he couldn’t stay outside. Morris then took a cab and asked the driver to head north. He had enough money to travel to Camden County, where the cab driver had dropped him off. He was later taken to Glynn County, where he was dropped off near Exit 29. County police were then called.

“The Glynn County Police went out of their way for this guy,” Sparre said, noting Lt. Gerald Herndon and Staff Sgt. Jacob Kapeller came to get him and gave him first aid.

“They loaded all of his things, they picked him up, they got him something to drink and they let me know, ‘Hey, he has to be changed,’ when I got here,” Sparred said. “So they took very good care of him.”

Donors volunteered to pay for Morris’ stay at the motel, Sparre said, while a report was made to Adult Protective Services to find a long-term solution.

“Hopefully we can put him in touch with a Medicare exemption program, possibly a placement in a skilled nursing facility where he can have a house and three meals and people who care about.” him all around, plus activities and physical therapy and a home doctor, ”said Cindi Eberhardt, Care Manager at Coastal Community Health Services.

The challenge is to find a facility that can meet her needs and that has an open bed, she said.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for him to go to an assisted living facility because they can’t help him with what he needs – the transfer, the bath, that sort of thing,” she said. “It has to be a skilled nursing facility where there are qualified and trained people who can help it safely.”

A new solution

Since moving to Glynn County to join the CCHS team as CEO in July, Dr Kavanaugh Chandler has quickly found that homelessness is a significant issue in the community that requires close collaboration. between many local partners.

And Morris’s challenges have only demonstrated how important it can be to work together to provide the most needed care to the region’s homeless people.

“All parties are doing their best to help where they can, so the question was what we can do as a health center to work with these partners to ultimately help these people and the community. community as a whole, ”Chandler said.

Randall Morris

Cindi Eberhardt, Care Manager at Coastal Community Health Services, and Honey Sparre, Manager of The Well, administer a COVID-19 test for Morris.

A new program that CCHS will be launching soon aims to address this need and help people like Morris. The CCHS also plans to expand its services soon and double its capacity to serve the downtown area.

It’s essential to meet people where they are, Chandler said. So the plan is to create an outreach program that will interact both with the homeless population and with various other community services throughout the city and county.

“The goal would be to hire someone who has a medical background to maybe go to FaithWorks, go to Well and other places, to see what these people need,” Chandler said.

The CCHS can use telehealth services to perform initial physical and behavioral health assessments.

“If it is then determined that this person needs to be seen in person, then we will bring our mobile unit or facilitate with that third party to bring them into our physical clinic,” he said. “But the purpose of the outreach program is to meet people where they are without judgment.”

Chandler hopes to launch this new program as soon as possible and has started interviewing potential candidates.

“The key has been to try to find someone who truly respects and understands this community and feels comfortable interacting with this community,” Chandler said. “So this is the current challenge, but a challenge that we are ready to take on.”

This kind of service would have been of great benefit to Morris, as the question is often how to find lasting solutions. And if they have significant medical issues, that challenge becomes even greater.

“We all specialize in something, and I think if we can really have a roundtable where we can say this is what I do best, then create a real process of integration, individuals like Mr. . Morris can immediately come into contact with any of these parties and would have all the care and access they need, ”Chandler said.

There are many resources to help the homeless in Glynn County, but communication between the entities sometimes fails, to the detriment of those they aim to help.

“All parties have the best of intentions, but I think we just need to find a platform that we can constantly communicate,” Chandler said. “And we can say,” Actually, I can color this space a little more gray, “and sooner or later the whole image will be fully painted and provide a beautiful image to the community and to those who need help. . “

Team work

While at the motel, Morris’s door stayed open from morning until late at night, in case he needed to call for help.

“It’s weird,” Morris said last week, during a visit from Sparre and Eberhardt, who gave him a COVID-19 test. “… I can’t get out of bed or anything.”

Randall Morris

Randall Morris with Honey Sparre, Director of The Well. Sparre finds help for Morris who has medical issues that many social service agencies are not prepared to deal with.

Morris expressed concern about being alone in the room, Sparre said. Motel staff and guests, however, also often visited his room to offer assistance.

“Since he cannot get in and out of his chair, or on the bed, out of bed, in the chair, he leaves his door open all the time so that other guests bring him food and sometimes they help him. go in or out, “Sparre said.” The hotel staff did the same.

It has been a team effort to help Morris get the care he needs and find a more stable solution for him, Sparre said.

“I want to commend the Glynn County Police Department and Coastal Community Health Care for working with us so diligently to ensure Mr. Randall is taken care of both mentally and physically. and spiritually, ”Sparre said.

Anyone wishing to lend their support to Morris or FaithWorks is asked to call 912-261-8512, ext. 106.

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