COVID-19 has significantly affected the aged care sector, but what is it like for staff who are working within an aged care residence? Source: VMCH.
VMCH’s Naomi Lewis said being behind the closed doors of an aged care residence during Melbourne’s lockdown has been continuous learning experience.
Ms Lewis is acting as a residential commander, providing support to residences during outbreak situations, and is a link between the home and government departments. She also supports on-site staff and coordinates facility-wide testing.
“Generally, the mood of residents is up and down, and residents are missing their regular interactions with their friends and family, especially while confined to their rooms,” Ms Lewis said.
“Some of the residents understand why they are in isolation whilst others need reminding. Some also question why they need to have a swab taken so frequently, so we are continually providing information, updates and reassurance.
“Remaining positive is important, as it allows residents to feel safe to express their concerns. Maintaining honest and open communication is key, people deserve to be, and need to be, informed.”
When it comes to the day-to-day activities, most days run very much the same, with a focus on infection control and personal protective equipment practices.
Ms Lewis said staff are working hard to maintain a positive outlook and to ensure their infection control practices are correct.
“Staff understand the need to be frequently tested, however they are understandably anxious about the risks for themselves, and potentially for their families at home,” Ms Lewis said.
“Our Lifestyle and Pastoral Care teams work very hard ensuring residents are provided with activities, entertainment and support. They also facilitate connections between residents and their loved ones, plus additional daily phone calls to update families.”