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How “We Care” In Lockdown

Bec Graham Mater Christi Lifestyles Team Coordinator sits down with Michelle Royce our Communications Coordinator.`

It’s been a very different 18 months for our Lifestyles Team. Our readers might be interested in just how much work goes on behind the scenes to ensure our residents lead as normal a life as possible and still receive the tip top care and support our teams provide.

Bec, can you tell us about what your team’s been doing during this time that’s different from

“pre- pandemic?”

“Sure. One thing we’ve had a lot of success with when we’ve gone into a ‘hard’ lockdown which means no visitors whatsoever is our wellbeing program- where we have a staff member dedicated to one- on- one wellbeing visits with residents throughout the facility. This also includes facilitating video calls for residents and family. This is a special shift that runs from

9am to 6pm so that the video calls can be made by family who might be at work or busy during business hours.

We also instigated a ‘buddy’ program, with each staff member choosing a resident ‘buddy’ whom they check on daily, spend a bit of time with them and generally fill in for family members who aren’t able to visit. The staff and residents love this opportunity to connect on a different level from what they normally do.

The other big thing for our residents is that their regular shopping trips have been impacted. In between hard lockdowns, the number of residents who come on a trip is limited for social distancing.

We provide masks, take temperatures before and after the trips as well as sanitising hands before they get back on the bus and we clean and sanitise the bus and all walkers and wheelchairs. When shopping trips are actually cancelled, I’ve been doing ‘virtual shopping’ with each resident who wants to purchase items, about nineteen of them at the moment by going online to Coles and then we do click and collect and I deliver to their rooms. That way none of them miss out on the fun of shopping or special little treats they enjoy, and they still feel independent and can make their own choices.

We’ve had to be a bit inventive, for example Cheryl might do a karaoke session when we can welcome our regular entertainers and the other day, I played music while we did whacky golf and all the residents had a little boogie when they got up to have their turn. Everyone had a laugh and a bit of fun, so we’ll probably keep doing that!”

“The best thing about all of this is that most of our residents are dealing really well with the

situation and it’s as normal as it can be here. We have our special care volunteers who fill the gaps and spend one on one time with those residents who are nervous about attending group activities or choose to self-isolate.We’re so grateful for them, they’re really committed and make huge difference.

I have to say a big thanks to Michael our CEO and the leadership team for allowing us to keep things as normal as possible, being able to go outside and walk around in the sun and fresh air and not being isolated in a room maintains that feeling of freedom at least here within our bubble! I’m sure this really contributes to the ongoing mental and physical health of our residents. We’ve been very fortunate, so far.”

Well I think you’ll agree with me that we’re fortunate to have such a brilliant staff and volunteer team who really do care, and join me in cheering them on.

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