Together, Flourish Australia’s Caboolture and Hervey Bay teams formulated a Health Action Plan in response to COVID-19 which has been implemented across the organisation.
Megan Ashton – Senior Mental Health Worker Caboolture says:
We came up with the Health Action Plan to provide a snapshot of the practical needs of each person we work with, for the purpose of planning remote delivery of whatever supports they need to continue living their lives with COVID-19.
Everything changed overnight for us as a result of the pandemic. As things continue to change, day by day, the clear advice and up-to-date information we receive from Flourish Australia’s Senior Leadership Team equips us to quickly adapt and respond. The moment we were notified that it would be necessary to transition to providing virtual supports, we set our minds to thinking through the preparation and infrastructure needed to service supports remotely.
I discussed the need to quickly capture information about people’s specific needs in the event of lockdown, with Toni Reilly from our Warana site. Together we brainstormed a central catchment system. Peer Worker Jane Miller and Mental Health Worker Jane Dickinson worked collaboratively to provide input in the form of key considerations such as, what would a person require if they were confined to their home for a period of time? Do they know what COVID-19 is or how symptoms present?
A whole new language has been suddenly introduced by the Government’s Coronavirus response so it’s important for us to also find out whether people understand what the new terminology, like ‘social distancing’ and ‘self isolation’, means and how it is relevant to them.
Based on our investigations, we developed a Health Action Plan in the form of a two page checklist. Used as a conversation tool by staff, it’s designed to give us insight to a person’s needs, such as ‘where do they get their food from?’ and ‘how will they access their medication?’ as well as identifying a plan of action in the event that they become unwell, such as ‘will support be required to care for pets’ and ‘who do they want us to notify?’. Staff can give the person a copy to keep on their fridge. We upload our version to the data base for ease of access and will review the information every four weeks.
Within a week of being notified by the Senior Leadership Team that we needed to transition to virtual supports, we had this up and running. The Health Action Plan is now available on Flourish Australia’s intranet and has been rolled out across the whole organisation.
Feedback captured has shown us is that many of the people we support have been quite resourceful in developing their own solutions to issues created by the restrictions, such as ordering food online and asking their chemist to deliver medication.
As a team, we staggered our approach to working from home, starting with those who experience underlying health issues and gradually transitioning the whole team. Our Cluster Manager Trevor and I made the decision to separate so that if one of us became unwell, the other would continue to provide leadership. To ensure that all staff feel supported, we now do a morning and midday staff meeting via Teams and invest one-to-one time with anyone who is experiencing difficulty making the adjustment to not having a workplace to go to each day. We’ve rostered one staff member to work from the centre each day, answering phones, sanitising the office and doing any necessary copying or printing.
The Queensland teams can be proud of the way they’ve pulled together on ways to continue providing supports in very challenging circumstances.
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