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Benetas In-Home Nurses go above and beyond

18th June 2020

Following a national study into the Home Care operations of providers during COVID-19 released this month, Benetas spoke with three In Home Nurses about their personal experience.

The survey by aged care peak body, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), found that 90 per cent of home care providers had ramped up their services in response to the heightened impact of COVID-19 on their clients’ health and wellbeing.

Regular phone contact had increased amongst close to 90 per cent of providers, with 84 per cent of providers implementing special grocery shopping and close to half said that social isolation had significantly affected their clients’ wellbeing.

Providing older Victorians with the care they need in the security of their own home, Benetas’ In Home Nurses said that while pressures had increased, working collaboratively as a team made all the difference.

“There was a great deal of concern and anxiety for everyone in the first weeks of COVID-19,” said In Home Nursing Services Team Leader, Debbie Brohier.

“It was a fast moving situation with vast amounts of information for our team to navigate.

“It required us to come together to ensure we were equipped to support our clients to the best of our ability.”

Support from the wider organisation played an important role in this process. “With all the external noise and uncertainty, the guidance we received from our Regional Business Manager and Benetas’ COVID-19 Management Team was vital,” Debbie said.

“The expert guidance and regular updates ensured that we were informed, confident and able to carry out client care in a way that did not jeopardise their safety in any way.”

Registered Nurse Clinical Lead Mary Healy reinforced how important this response was due to the kind of work they do with clients.

“Our nurses do everything beyond the hospital walls and are worth their weight in gold,” she said.

“From delivering chemo, dressing wounds, administering medication, and helping clients manage chronic health conditions, our team did incredibly well to help keep vulnerable older Australians safely out of hospitals.”

This work was done in the context of many having to manage their own personal lives directly affected by the threat of the virus.

Clinical Registered Nurse Jacky Beer said that reassuring her children that the risks of providing care during Victoria’s initial lockdown was both safe and the right thing to do.

“This was one of the more challenging conversations,” she said.

“My family was adhering to strict social distancing and isolation rules as advised by the Victorian Government at the time.

“I had to assure my family that I was maintaining the utmost protection and general hygiene measures to ensure that I wasn’t putting my clients or my family at risk.

“Regardless, there’s no way we would have done it any differently. With nursing there is always some form of risk.

“It’s about using your expertise to provide the best clinical care you can without putting either party in harm’s way.”

Team Leader, Debbie Brohier expressed how proud she was of her Benetas peers during this time.

“We could have had many of our team call in sick and take stress leave, but we saw the exact opposite,” she said.

“Our colleagues were more available than ever to pick up the extra shifts and each and every one stepped up to the challenge. We really had a strong sense of coming together during this time to support one another and continue the care that our clients so heavily rely on.”