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Online care platform steps up to support most vulnerable during COVID-19

Photo: Online care platform steps up to support most vulnerable during COVID-19
Amid all the uncertainty and unrest, our society has a particular responsibility to consider how we best support our 3.8 million older Australians and those living with disabilities or mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As individuals increasingly self isolate, we are expecting to see a rise in issues that come with isolation -  depression, loneliness and not to mention an increase in the anxiety we are already experiencing with this pandemic.

Self isolation also presents logistical challenges around doing tasks in the community, such as getting to the shops to buy basic necessities.

With the current panic in shops, this out of home trip can also be extremely anxiety provoking, in particular those with mental health issues.

Careseekers is an online platform that directly connects independent aged care and disability support workers with families and individuals needing in-home care and support.
“The workers on our platform deliver a great deal of social support to members of the community who are quite isolated due to their age or mental health issues.

Removing this social support will only increase these issues and we are extremely concerned about the impact it may have.

“We know that self-isolation is the best form of protection against COVID-19 so we are trying to be creative in how we can support people during this period without compromising their health,” Careseekers CEO Marissa Sandler said.

“Trips into the community can be replaced by phone calls from support workers. Just hearing another voice on the other side of the phone can reduce these feelings of loneliness.

Workers can do supermarket shopping and run essential errands, like getting to the pharmacy for those self-isolating. Reduced social contact and feeling unable to get essential goods can negatively impact mental health. These times need us to be creative around how we can deliver these supports and services”.

“Good quality workers are already in high demand. They deliver essential daily assistance to some of our most vulnerable members of the community including personal care, getting up and dressed, toileting, meal preparation. We need to be prepared for if and when this workforce is hit by the virus or impacted by other measures if they come, like school closures,” Marissa Sandler said.

At Careseekers we are also doing what we can to bolster the workforce of in-home aged care and disability support workers.

There are many workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors who will increasingly find themselves without jobs over the next few weeks.

We are actively working with these people and assisting with the transfer of skills into skills that are relevant to in-home care and support.

“We are not talking about the delivery of complex medical assistance rather those essential daily living tasks. We are starting to build this secondary workforce now.

While it is not needed today, we are seeing that good preparation is key to addressing this pandemic and its impact on society,” Marissa Sandler said.

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