Positive Help provides practical assistance to improve the daily lives of individuals and families in the Edinburgh area who are affected by HIV and Hepatitis C. In 2012 it launched an initiative which provided transport and domestic support - ranging from cleaning to food shopping and gardening - to people undergoing or preparing for HCV treatment.
Staffed by trained volunteers, the service aimed to overcome practical difficulties in making it to hospital appointments due to poverty, chaotic life circumstances and geographical remoteness – and, more importantly, gives users a chance to speak to someone about the issues affecting them, including the impact of treatment, and get the support they need. These visits improve service users’ living conditions and quality of life and resolve issues that could otherwise disrupt treatment.
More than 4,800 people in the Edinburgh area live with HCV and this number is rising: many of the people affected have complex needs and are potentially vulnerable as a result of mental health issues. They also experience social deprivation, poverty and disadvantage.
At the time of launching this initiative, the team was providing similar services to people living with HIV – using trained volunteers to offer transport and domestic support such as cleaning or food shopping to people undergoing or preparing for treatment. The team was confident these would be able to make a difference to those living with HCV too.
To enable and support service users to adhere to clinical treatment and social and therapeutic support programmes; and to work in partnership with health and social care workers to improve the overall physical and mental well-being of clients.
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