Before Kristen Scott met Tui Ora Family Health kaiāwhina Airingi Matuku life was getting her down.
Pain for the young diabetic was constant and intense and her mental health was suffering.
“I knew her GP was very, very worried about her because of the results that were coming back. She was hitting rock bottom,” recalls Airingi who works alongside people, helping them navigate through health and social services.
A year on, Kristen’s progress is notable for the lack of hospital admissions, the regularity with which she keeps appointments and her increasing involvement as a volunteer in community groups such as Riding for the Disabled.
Now this 22-year-old feels she’s contributing rather than “wasting money and resources” thanks to a more holistic service.
Kristen was diagnosed a diabetic as an 11-year-old but says she didn’t look after herself as a teenager. Several years ago regular pain started in her toes then moved up her body and gradually worsened.
Up to a year ago, hospital admissions were a regular occurrence. Every admittance involved retelling her story to a new group of health professionals.
She was registered with Tui Ora Family Health(external link) but failed to keep appointments so Airingi was called in to help. She began by transporting Kristen to appointments.
“Ringi is someone different to talk to. I would say that in the past three years the thing that has changed my life the most is her support.”
Not only does she provide transport, she also adds to medical information, explaining jargon in terms that Kristin can understand - why for example a certain blood test is urgent.
Ringi says the hard work hasn’t been hers alone: “Kristen has come a long way. She has an inner fighting spirit and it’s not all about her. There’s a care for others and a willingness to help.”