No second chance at a first impression: Wellness Check Volunteers smiling at the front line
In response to the pandemic and the visiting restrictions in place at all IRT Aged Care Centres, Age Matters Volunteer Unit has stepped up to provide support, with volunteers conducting the wellness checks required for essential visits.
Newly recruited into a role at IRT Woodlands in Queensland, volunteer Wendy has been really impressed with the conscientious way visitors have tended to the hand hygiene, temperature checks and sign-in process. Wendy explained “visitors really want to make sure they can get in to visit and help their loved ones and it’s been really nice to see they want to participate in the process of keeping the community safe.”
Wendy knows exactly what it’s like to be a visitor in an Aged Care setting as she recently had to place her husband into care after supporting him for seven years at home. This, combined with her background as an Assistant in Nursing has given Wendy greater empathy for visitors if they’re feeling a little anxious. “I know that just letting people talk about their situation will sometimes make it feel a bit better for them'” says Wendy.
Wendy was a little nervous about the administrative side of the volunteering role but has definitely felt a sense of reward. “The people I work with at IRT Woodlands have been so lovely and very helpful – commenting on the bright orange Age Matters shirt and helping me feel part of the community,” says Wendy.
Meanwhile in the Illawarra region of NSW, Uni student Laura has just started as a Wellness Check Volunteer. “It’s still early days for me but hopefully it will give me some good experience and help some people at the same time,“ she says.
“I just thought I was helping people to use touch-screen tablets – no big deal, but it turns out it’s a lot more daunting for people than I realised,” says Laura, offering a human face to help relieve some of the tech-related stress.
Across IRT’s geographic regions, the Age Matters Volunteering Unit has been training volunteers to assist with wellness checks in response to the specific needs at each location. Karen, a new recruit on the South Coast of NSW, is really keen for the opportunity to give back to the community. “A lot of people living in Aged Care have limited family and friends as it is, so it’s really important to help out with the visiting arrangements so they have people to talk to. I’m really socially conscious and want to help keep everyone safe,” Karen explained.
With the COVID-19 situation unpredictable and the continued need to maintain Aged Care Residents’ safety as the highest priority, we are grateful to have a responsive and caring team to support the wellbeing of residents and their families. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a volunteer or how you can help please get in touch.