Each week we will post a summary of interesting and representative 211 calls. This week, we have connections from New Brunswick and Manitoba.
It is almost automatic for many people to look at the internet to find resources. However, many people have little or no access to the Internet or the ability to use it effectively. That is why it is reassuring to be able to call 211 and get a real person on the line.
A senior called for financial assistance to purchase medical equipment; she needed a walker. She said she was not eligible for assistance from the province and the Red Cross. She did not know what to do.
The 211 Service Navigator asked clarifying questions to better understand the caller’s situation. The caller said she was denied because of her income; she stated that she could afford a portion of the costs, but not all of the purchase costs.
The 211 Service Navigator suggested looking into equipment rental, and the caller had not thought of that possibility. The caller did not have access to the internet. The caller was told that 211 cannot endorse individual businesses. However, if she had no other way of finding these, the Service Navigator could provide contact information to several different medical equipment rental services, and the caller could then inquire about pricing and services. The Service Navigator did online research and found several locations that provided medical rental equipment. The caller had been unaware of these services. She was given the names, addresses, phone numbers and hours of operations of the locations nearby.
The caller said she was so glad she called as she had not known what to do. She was so happy about the referrals and was grateful for the help she received. She told the Service Navigator that she did not use the internet and she did not have a lot of support; she said that 211 was an incredible service for seniors like her.
It is even harder to help a family member when someone needs help themselves. 211 Service Navigators can find the right services for everyone in the family, and are sensitive to the fact that more than one person may need help.
A man called 211 and told the Service Navigator that he has severe anxiety that has been untreated most of his life. Now he suspects that his son is having suicidal thoughts. His son was treated previously, but the caller fears that he may be experiencing these thoughts again. The caller is exhausted and is fearful that son may need more counselling. He was seeking counselling for both his son and himself.
The 211 Service Navigator probed to check that there were no immediate concerns that the son was going to harm himself right away. She then let the caller know how to contact emergency services in case the situation escalated. She also provided a suicide hotline to the caller for his son.
She found counselling resources for both the son and the caller, and made sure the caller knew exactly how to access them. Finally, the 211 staff asked to schedule a follow up call with him, and he said, “I would appreciate a follow up from you because it will be good to talk about this with someone.”