In late 2018, Volker Kirstein had surgery on his foot. The procedure left the 78-year-old with a wound that needed ongoing medical care. Thanks to Discovery Home Care, there was no need for him to remain in hospital for treatment.
German-born Volker Kirstein has lived in Melkbosstrand for the past 37 years. This coastal suburb on South Africa’s West Coast is located 35 km north of Cape Town. The retired engineer – who also has a background in agriculture and spent years working in Namibia and Angola in this field – now spends his time assisting at a local school, fixing anything that needs repairing and serving as a bus driver for excursions.
He and his wife Sylvia lead an active life, frequently seeing their 39-year-old son in Wilderness on the Garden Route and 35-year-old daughter in Constantia, also in the Western Cape. It was while visiting their son in September 2018 that Volker felt a sudden and intense pain in his left foot.
“The area – on the top of my foot, where the tendon feeds into the bottom of the leg – quickly became red and swollen and we returned home so that I could go to hospital to have it seen to,” explains Volker. “Doctors admitted me immediately and ordered various blood tests, suspecting a spider bite, but the only way to determine the cause of what looked like a bubble under my skin was to open it up. The procedure gave us a definite answer – gout crystals, which seemed related to an inadequate intake of water on my part. I also had an old wound in the area from a tendon that had torn when I was 34 years old and had resulted in thick scar tissue after being repaired.”
“I would definitely recommend Discovery Home Care – especially to older people.”
Volker has been a Discovery Health Medical Scheme member since 2002. When his doctor discharged him, she motivated for access to Discovery Home Care. This was to make sure that Volker’s surgery wound received careful medical attention in the weeks to come, without Volker needing to travel to hospital and back repeatedly.
“Two days after I was discharged, I saw my Discovery Home Care nurses for the first time,” he recalls. Volker needed 11 Discovery Home Care visits, beginning on 3 October and ending on 20 November 2018. “For the next few weeks, around three times a week, one or two Home Care nurses came to my house to treat my wounds. They were always so efficient that they were done in under an hour. They would remove old dressings, clean, flush and re-dress the wound. They also always took photos and submitted it to Discovery to document and report back on the healing of the wound. I was thoroughly impressed with my two excellent, professional nurses.”
“Their care helped me to heal without any problems. I would recommend the Discovery Home Care service to others, especially to older people. I really appreciated avoiding visits to the doctor or hospital. I would have had to sit and wait my turn surrounded by sick people. As an older person, I need to be careful about exposure to illness and bugs.
“With Discovery Home Care, I knew that the nurses would arrive at a certain time, stay for a specific time, and that there would be minimal disruption to my life and hobbies. I had the reassurance of knowing that my wound was healing well and that I would see the nurses again within a day or so. I could also contact them whenever there was anything worrying me.”
At a later stage, Volker was re-admitted with a similar left-foot pain and doctors determined that dehydration had caused another flare up. “They re-opened the area to make sure there were no more gout crystals, and put me in a cast temporarily. I was later able to care for the subsequent wound on my own, having learnt so much from the Discovery Home Care process. I am happy to say that I am back to optimal health, and that my foot has healed completely.”
DISCOVERY HEALTH MEDICAL SCHEME IS AN INDEPENDENT NON-PROFIT ENTITY GOVERNED BY THE MEDICAL SCHEMES ACT, AND REGULATED BY THE COUNCIL FOR MEDICAL SCHEMES. IT IS ADMINISTERED BY A SEPARATE COMPANY, DISCOVERY HEALTH (PTY) LTD, AN AUTHORISED FINANCIAL SERVICES PROVIDER.
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