Cornelius' Story

Cornelius and his Health Futures support worker

Cornelius is settled into his own flat and enjoying better health thanks to the support he had from Healthy Futures

Cornelius served in the army for 25 years, serving in the Falklands, Afghanistan and Bosnia. When he left the army, his marriage broke down, and his drinking, which had started because of the stress of army life, continued.

Over time he moved around the country, often living off the land and taking shelter in disused buildings or barns. His heavy alcohol use caused a chronic liver condition, and Cornelius was admitted several times to different hospitals, depending on where he happened to be living at the time.

Last July Cornelius decided to stop drinking - but a few months later was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital, homeless and seriously ill.

"Giving up alcohol so quickly and going cold turkey had a big impact on my body. Ironically not a positive one. I was told if I got through the night I may have a chance of surviving. And I did."

Derventio Housing Trust's Healthy Futures team visited Cornelius in hospital to assess his needs. We found him a suitable ground floor flat close to his sister and with good transport links to the hospital so he can easily attend his out-patient appointments. As well as making sure the right benefits are in place, the team also contacted SSAFA, an organisation that supports people who have worked in the forces, to provide additional support.

Today Cornelius is settled into his flat and has been attending all medical appointments independently. He has been put in touch with an alcohol support group, and says he has no desire to drink again.

"I am so much better now. I really want to get back out there and get a job and I have absolutely no need for a drink, I really don't want one."

Cornelius is determined to get fit enough for a liver transplant and hopes that once he has recovered he will be able to get a job. As well as completing some Learn Direct courses, Cornelius has made a training video with the NHS about his time in hospital.

"It was the light at the end of the tunnel. It was so uplifting when Healthy Futures staff came to visit me in hospital. I am better, fitter and healthier now. I just wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the help I have received."

Update: Four months after we spoke to Cornelius for this story he had a successful liver transplant and is doing really well.

*Image above courtesy of Simon Bolton Photography