Partnering in Care Program a popular choice for family to safely visit loved ones during COVID-19

Tina leans across the bed to talk to her mother at the aged care home, she is wearing a mask, her mother is smilingUp to 80 people a week are now completing HammondCare’s innovative online and virtual workshop that provides a way to continue visits to loved ones in residential care, even during lockdowns subject to local restrictions.

New figures, released to mark R U OK? Day, show 1319 individuals have completed the free Partnering in Care Program, a number that has doubled since the Sydney Delta outbreak began in June.

The program offers online training and virtual workshop in COVID-safe practices, infection control, hygiene practices and taking care.

The program, which complements HammondCare’s visitor concierge program that provides screening and safety checks, provides an intelligent and measured way for relatives to continue social contact that can assist in the social wellbeing of residents.

Since the Partnering in Care Program was launched, other providers have expressed interest in using the resources.

Tina Weatherley sits next to her mother in bed and shows her something on a tablet computerTina Weatherley (pictured) is greatly appreciative that completing the program meant she could continue essential visits to her mum, Concetta Gatto (93), a resident with high-care needs at HammondCare’s Harding cottage in Hammondville.

Mrs Weatherley, who does not live in a Local Government Area of concern, said the course had made her highly conscious of infection risk. She carries with her authorisation from her GP acknowledging her need to travel to visit her mum.

“The training has been great because it has enabled me to continue to see my mum as an essential care provider at a time when I know many others with family in care can’t,” Mrs Weatherley said. “There are friends I have who haven't been able to see their mum for months.”

She cited the examples that she sets her watch to measure the appropriate time to wash her hands and she has learned how to most effectively wear PPE. Mrs Weatherley was in the first pilot group to do the course and since then other family members have also completed it.

HammondCare Chief Operating and Risk Officer Angela Raguz said she was pleased with the strong take-up of the Partnering in Care Program. She said the courses enables families to be informed and educated on how they can minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“Early in the COVID-19 pandemic we recognised that it was likely to be a marathon rather than a sprint and we needed to offer families a way to continue visits to our residential care homes that manages risk in a measured and safe way,” Ms Raguz said.

She said the HammondCare created the program in recognition that there is an impact of physical and social isolation for residents.

Completion of the Partnering in Care Program does not guarantee ongoing visits where state for federal government advice prohibits this.

Partnering in Care Program