Superstar pharmacist comforts residents
In January 2020, bushfires ravaged the NSW South Coast. With the largest aged care presence in the region, IRT faced a catastrophic bushfire threat across seven sites. In this series of stories, we celebrate the courage, resilience and leadership of our employees, who kept our centres operating and our residents safe.
People in Moruya describe pharmacist Jo McMahon as a superstar. An embedded pharmacist, Jo works across IRT Moruya, IRT Dalmeny and IRT Crown Gardens in Batemans Bay, visiting for a few hours each week and maintaining close relationships with aged care residents, staff and GPs. When IRT Dalmeny residents were evacuated to IRT Moruya on January 3, Jo knew all of them. She comforted them and ensured they had the medications they needed. Jo downplays how much she did to help over that first weekend in January. “I didn’t do much at all,” she says. In fact, say her IRT colleagues, she did every single role in the care centre that you can think of.
Jo McMahon: “I came in every morning to help with breakfast. I wore green gloves and a hairnet for two days, and worked in the kitchen. I tried to back people up where I could, to free up the team to do what they do best. I did pharmacy on the run, advising on who needed medication. The pharmacy and GP surgeries were closed, so I liaised with the hospital to get medications. My family did coffee runs because we were all coffee deprived. I had to evacuate my house and we stayed at my husband’s office in Moruya. There were about 12 of us staying there – my kids, my grandkids, and my son’s partner’s parents. You can’t have this sort of team work happening in aged care without great leadership and incredible trust among the staff.”