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Romania: Healthcare Beyond the System

United Way Romania shares two poignant stories that illustrate the vital importance of addressing health challenges. These narratives underscore that improving physical health must go hand-in-hand with enhancing mental health support.

Julian's Story: Caring for His 92-Year-Old Mother Despite His Health Challenges

Julian, 58, is homebound due to his health conditions. He also takes care of his 92-year-old mother, who requires constant supervision. They both live in a modestly furnished two-room flat, surviving on his sickness pension and disability allowance.

The United Way Romania helps Julian receive socio-medical care at home. A medical assistant visits him to measure his  blood pressure, pulse, temperature, blood sugar, and oxygen saturation. He's also gets tests specific to his medical conditions.

These visits provide Julian the opportunity to discuss his challenges and mental health, creating a space where he feels understood and accepted. When a nurse isn't visiting, he benefits from telecare monitoring, enabling him to connect with a medical specialist whenever he or his mother need assistance.

During a visit, Julian confessed: “What I miss most is socializing and interacting with people. Thanks to your visits, I feel like I'm not alone anymore, and it gives me courage to overcome my medical problems more easily.”

The constant support helps Julian maintain stable health, boosting his confidence to cope with his own suffering and his mother's needs. The regular visits from the team make him feel less isolated.

Bogdan's Journey: Navigating Life on the Autism Spectrum

Bogdan is a lively 15-year-old who loves trips and cars. Diagnosed with autism in Romania at age 6, he was later found to have a serious nervous system condition. With the support of relatives, his family went abroad for more evaluations and treatments.

Due to Bogdan's delicate medical situation, the family stayed in Spain for a time so he could receive necessary therapies. Over time, the family's socio-economic situation became strained, prompting their return to Romania where Bogdan continued his therapy. His recovery was interrupted by the pandemic in 2020, hindering his development.

Bogdan's mother shares her emotional journey and tells us, "I never lost hope, but I admit that many times, I felt disappointed and could no longer see a way to help my son. Helplessness gripped me almost every time. But two months ago, thanks to the support at the center, my son began ascending and descending stairs on his own. It's the biggest achievement in the last year and a half, and we're thrilled. Now he wants to walk down the street by himself. My soul is full of joy and gratitude for this opportunity."

Last year, the family discovered United Way's support center, offering psychological and medical recovery. The prolonged lack of physical therapy negatively impacted Bogdan's recovery, resulting in severe locomotor system problems. To aid in Bogdan's recovery, the center's specialists developed an extensive weekly program of physical and speech therapy tailored to his needs.

These two stories from United Way Romania highlight the profound interconnectedness of physical and mental well-being, painting a human picture of both the struggles and triumphs in health care.