Nava Spoorthi Kendra, a 40-room retreat centre has been converted into a step-down facility for recovering covid patients who can’t quarantine at home
Cooke Town now has a 40-room step-down facility for those recovering from covid and cannot be sent home directly from the hospital.
With hospital beds in great demand for those critically ill, step-down facilities are a boon to help people recoup and recover while being monitored.
Redeemer Cares is helmed by Fr A. Lawrence C.Ss.R, co-pastor at Holy Ghost Church. This facility, with round-the-clock security and dietician-approved meals has been set up at Nava Spoorthi Kendra, a 40-room retreat centre, on Davis Road.
Where it began
“The idea to start this service was suggested by one of our volunteers, Nirmal Sebastian,” says Fr Lawrence. “We had a great desire to serve people in thistime of the pandemic. Eventually, after many discussions and deliberations, we decided to launch Redeemer Cares.”
Nirmal Sebastian, one of the volunteers in Redeemer Cares, explains how the idea came about. “We were frustrated about not being able to contribute and do our bit to reduce the pain and suffering around us. It was at this point that we decided to start this step-down facility. In our locality, people are always ready to help and support you, and it has been a beautiful experience. If we need something, it suddenly pops up out of nowhere. For instance, the storeroom in our retreat centre was stocked the very next day it was launched by The Salesian Fathers. We also received support from so many other people immediately.”
A vision for the needy
The Redeemer Cares project was designed for poor people who do not have the facilities to quarantine themselves at home, but it is also open to anyone who might need the facility due to paucity of space and lack of health care at home.
“At present, we are functioning as an extension of St. Philomena’s Hospital. All the patients have to be tested, treated and discharged from this hospital to be quarantined here,” says Fr Lawrence. “But we are planning to tie up with more hospitals soon.”
Fr Lawrence will also be living in the 40-room step-down facility to help manage it.
Another volunteer, Mark Sequeira, has also been actively involved in the project. “When my mom told me about the initiative, I wanted to help as I believe it’s the job of the society as a whole to work together.”
Being physically challenged, Sequeira does data entry work for the centre. “We need to give the healthcare sector a break and provide an alternative for treatment so that critical patients can be in the hospitals,” he says.
Facilities for physical and mental health
Redeemer Cares has appointed qualified doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who will provide professional help to the patients.
“Meals, medicines and the stay at the centre are absolutely free of cost,” says Fr Lawrence. “We also have a team of professional counsellors under the banner of Ray of Hope for grief management and counselling and any other psychological help a patient might need.”
Oxygen concentrators are provided when needed and an ambulance is also available if the patients need to be shifted back to the hospital.
The volunteers do not deal with the patients directly, but they help them from outside, procuring anything that the centre might require and taking care of the overall management of the centre, As for the food, the meals that are provided to the patient have been prepared by a dietician, keeping the needs of the patients in mind.
“Besides the Salesian fathers who provided the centre with all our necessities like bed sheets, pillows, sanitisers, PPE kits, provisions and more, we also have many generous donors who have helped set up the centre. We have procured most of our medical needs, like stretchers, wheelchairs and medicine from our volunteers. We also have 25 to 30 volunteers so far who have helped to set up the centre. They help out in communication, organisation, social media management, finance management, procurement of the items we require, employees and staff,” says Fr Lawrence.
Work in progress
The centre also plans to take help to more and more people in the locality. “We have plans to organise vaccination drives, blood donation camps and counselling sessions too in the days to come,” he says and adds that they also plan to reach out to the needy in their area with rations and medicines.
The spirit of humanity
According to Fr Lawrence, every crisis brings out the best in so many people. “This pandemic has brought out the true nature of humanity. Those who have compassionate hearts have had the opportunity to show love to the needy in the true sense of the word,” he says.
Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy