Touni has also helped Randy get back on his feet. Randy is a talented jazz musician who sings and plays guitar with his band Checkers.
“I used to do a Sinatra show here for years at the Jazz Festival, we played the Bessborough and the Sheraton. I’m more of a singer so the stuff I sing I learned how to play. I’m self-taught mostly, partially trained. I’ve been playing for 40 years, but I’m only 39,” jokes Randy.
Randy suffers from Fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that affects the muscles and soft tissue. It can cause muscle pain, fatigue and tenderness in localized areas. Randy is unable to work because of the pain and found he could no longer pay his rent.
He stayed at the men’s shelter for two and half weeks and is working with a social worker to get into the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program (SAID). He says his experience at The Lighthouse has been a positive one, “I’ve had no problems. It’s well run, they have good food here. Touni’s a really good guy, he helps people get back on their feet.”
Touni has helped to find Randy a furnished apartment of his own that is affordable. He also set him up with sheets and towels to get him started in his new home. “Many people don’t realize that the Lighthouse helps a lot of people, if they’re willing to help themselves,” says Randy, “You have to be willing to try to get your life back on the straight track.”
As Mike observes, “The Lighthouse is a place to come when you have nothing. If you need a place to stay I would advise anybody to come here. Great people, great staff, the food is wonderful. I would recommend it to anybody who needed a place, that’s for sure.”
Here is a link to Randy’s Soundcloud account. His most recent album is called Close Enough for Jazz and he has a beautiful voice- he really does sound like Frank Sinatra!
The Lighthouse Supported Living Annual General Meeting is tomorrow, March 29th at 7:00pm in the Lighthouse dining room. 304 2nd Ave S, entrance is on 20th St. We will share about the work done by the Lighthouse including expansion of services and uplifting stories of lives changed in 2015. All are welcome to attend.
Feet are not for everyone, especially caring for feet. But having healthy feet is vital for anyone who wants to get from point A to point B. It’s not something we think about when we’re young, but as we get older, foot care becomes an important part of maintaining mobility. Nicole Masson-Greenhorn is a registered nurse for the Victorian Order of Nurses, and specializes in foot care. She came to The Lighthouse last week for her first drop-in foot clinic.
“It went well,” says Masson-Greenhorn, “I wasn’t sure what to expect for feet, but everybody I saw needed foot care, from super long toe nails to a little bit of teaching about foot care. Although feet are usually a lower priority, everybody who was diabetic seemed to know that feet are important, which I really like to see.”
Lady Ishbel Gordon Aberdeen, founder of the VON
The Victorian Order of Nurses is a charitable organization which was founded in 1896. It was originally started as a group of travelling nurses who would visit isolated communities in Canada to provide health care. In 1898, a VON cottage hospital was opened in Regina to provide care to pioneers and early settlers on the prairies. Over the next century, the order grew into a leading charitable organization, providing home care, education and health services across the country.
The Regina cottage hospital, 1898
“In Saskatoon our role is foot care, so we go to all the nursing homes, people’s homes and hospitals to do feet. My job is foot care five days a week,” explains Masson-Greenhorn, “we do the flu programs, wellness clinics, we do some drug programs, teaching people to self-administer meds that are injectable, but our major role is foot care.”
As a registered nurse, Masson-Greenhorn always starts off with an assessment of her patient’s feet. She looks at what kind of shoes and socks they normally wear, as well as inspects their circulation and color. The next step is to, “cut and file toe nails, if people have corns or calluses we can file those as well. And then depending on what people have, if they have paralysis on one side or diabetes, we assess how that affects the foot and how can we keep it healthier.”
This kind of health care is vital to Lighthouse clients because many homeless individuals are forced to walk long distances every day to find food, shelter and access services in Saskatoon. Masson-Greenhorn understands that her patients have other health concerns, but wants to emphasize the importance of foot care, “People concentrate on high blood pressure, and they concentrate on insulin and all those things are important, but we want to focus on the feet and make sure that people can walk as well as they can and deal with issues. ”
Nicole Masson-Greenhorn at her drop-in clinic
It’s especially important for people with diabetes to be aware of their feet, due to their changing level of blood sugar that can damage nerves and lead to loss of feeling. This can cause something like a cut to go unnoticed and become infected, sometimes resulting in amputation. Masson-Greenhorn’s goal is to catch this before it even starts.
The Lighthouse hopes to take advantage of funding and have a foot care specialist come in once a month for a drop-in clinic. In the meantime, clients are advised to change into a clean pair of socks every day and wear proper fitting, supportive shoes.
Physiotherapy is an important sector of the healthcare field, especially as an aid to recovering from an injury or treating physical limitations. Unfortunately, it is difficult to secure funding in this area for underprivileged members of our community. After recognizing a need for physiotherapy at The Lighthouse, Nurse Practitioner Jeannie Coe set out to create a volunteer based program. She contacted the Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association who put out an email and several members responded. One of them was CBI Health Group who offered to donate their services free of charge.
The program launched in April, and has been seeing positive results over the past two months. A group of five young physiotherapists have been taking turns coming to The Lighthouse every Friday afternoon to meet with clients and assess their health concerns.
Physiostherapists Calla Belyk, Lacey Nairn Pederson, Ryan Fehr, Garnette Weber and Shelby Schemenauer
Ryan Fehr and Lindsey Tasker are two physios who jumped at the opportunity to work at The Lighthouse. “I was really excited to see different presentations of various conditions that I had never seen before,” says Tasker, “so it’s been exciting for me just as a therapist to gain more experience.”
Fehr says they’ve been seeing “a variety of clients presenting with different neurological and musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, both acute and chronic.” Tasker nods in agreement and adds, “I’ve seen long standing injuries that never got attention, which should have probably seen therapy at some point after the injury. So we’re seeing them months, years later. It’s unfortunate, but at least we can provide care now and get people on the right path.”
When the therapists meet a client, they assess their injury, answer questions and decide on the best method of treatment. Sometimes they give clients stretches or exercises to do every day, and they print out pictures to help them remember. “But there’s also the education component,” Fehr explains, “because a lot of these people have chronic pain or arthritic pain that they don’t understand. One thing as physios that we really try to promote is independence in your own care. We assist where needed, and then give them control to take care of themselves.”
Although they encourage clients to come back for follow up sessions, Tasker says the most challenging part is not knowing if they will see their patients again, “I find I’m definitely spending a lot more time educating them on a bunch of different things, where normally I would spread that out over several visits at the clinic.”
Fehr and Tasker also have the opportunity to train students through this program. Second year physiotherapy students from the U of S have been sitting in on assessments for the past few weeks and say they’ve been learning a lot. “It’s a different population than what we normally get exposed to, which I think is the most valuable part,” says Shelby Schemenauer.
Lighthouse resident Gabriel Montgrand “Mimi” and Lindsey Tasker
After seeing the physiotherapist, clients have been speaking with Garnette Weber, who is the Physio Project Manager. She has just started conducting a survey to gather information about the results of the program. Weber plans on using her research to apply for long term funding towards a permanent physiotherapy position at The Lighthouse.
Everyone involved with the program says that a full time physiotherapist is a much needed service at The Lighthouse. “It would be very challenging for a lot of the residents to be able to access physio outside of here,” says Weber, “They’ve really appreciated that it was available here and they can just go in when it fit with them in a place where they’re comfortable.”
With the Education and Wellness Center set to be completed by the end of September, a more frequent physiotherapy program would be welcomed. The center’s gym and exercise area offers the perfect environment for a therapist to conduct fitness classes designed to work on muscle strength, balance and body awareness.
Although the future of the program is up in the air, Fehr and Tasker have learned a lot from this valuable experience. Both therapists agree that the clients are the best part, “The people we’ve met are incredible and they’re very friendly and very appreciative of our care,” says Fehr, “To hear their stories and to give them a chance to tell their stories, it’s been a really good opportunity. And then we can share our experiences and try to change that stigma and the way others think about homeless people in Saskatoon.”