Updated on May 18, 2017
The Salvation Army partnership with UH Maui provides wound care for homeless
By Brandi Salas
The Salvation Army partnered with the University of Hawaii Maui College (UH Maui) nursing students and graduates to provide wound care last week. Our Homeless Outreach Coordinator, Mark Saxon, and Kahului Corps Officer Lt. Romelia Howard visited homeless encampments in Kihei to provide food, spiritual services, and clean clothing. Nursing students and graduates of UH Maui attended to individuals in need of medical services.
Each week, The Salvation Army’s homeless outreach vans are loaded with fresh fruit and food donated by neighboring hotels, grocery stores, and community partners and serves homeless individuals and families in Kihei, Paia, Kahului, and Lahaina. “We do outreach many times during the week, usually feeding breakfast and lunch. We start off with a prayer and then have fellowship over a hot meal. It’s a way for us to meet their immediate need of food assistance and connect with them,” says Lt. Howard.
“This is our first time coming out with The Salvation Army to serve the homeless population on Maui,” says Dr. Celeste Baldwin, a nurse practitioner and professor at UH Maui. “It is important for our students and graduates to have experience in engaging with homeless individuals because they often seek services at the hospitals. This partnership will definitely prepare them for the real world,” she says. The students and graduates cleaned and bandaged wounds, but also educated the homeless about making healthier choices and getting clean and sober. Hygeine kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, bug spray, and sunscreen were also provided.
Dr. Baldwin notes that most of the injuries or conditions she sees amongst the homeless population are infected sites due to intravenous drug use, infected bug bites, and high blood pressure. “We’re seeing a lot of infected sores, probably from dirty needles,” says Homeless Outreach Coordinator, Mark Saxon. “When someone is addicted, that person becomes careless about his or her health and well-being. We hope our efforts with the UH Maui nursing department will continue to educate the homeless and get them the help they need.”
The Salvation Army Kahului Homeless Outreach Services meets the needs of more than 100 people each week through food assistance, basic needs services, and referrals to case managers or partner agencies on the island. Of the many ongoing efforts to address homelessness on Maui, The Salvation Army prioritizes three initiatives: meeting immediate needs, case management, and homeless prevention. “It’s important to us that we’re working with a number of organizations and community partners that can provide services the homeless population doesn’t regularly have access to,” says Saxon. “Once their immediate needs are met, we can prepare them for case management and other services that will help them get back on their feet.”