How we are responding to COVID-19
WWG is working to ensure continuity of our health and wellbeing services to vulnerable people in our community.
Our response to service delivery has rapidly changed and will continue to change, following government directives and the emerging needs of our vulnerable clients. What we have done so far:
- Clinic protocols: Last month we developed and have continued to update our internal clinic protocols to minimise exposure for our staff and to protect the health and safety of our clients. This protocol sets out processes such as checking by phone people’s travel and exposure background before making appointments, reducing and where possible ceasing face-to-face appointments and offering telephone and zoom appointments.
- Triage and screening area: We have introduced a separate triage area where we are screening everyone who enters our clinic prior to entering our waiting room.
- Infection control: We have upgraded strict infection control protocols.
- Creative appointments: We have ceased home visits and are being creative about how to maintain contact with our most vulnerable clients. When required, we have delivered support from our cars and in parks observing social distance measures.
- Mental health through technology: Our mental health service is fully functional, utilising telephone and zoom appointments to provide mental health support to our clients
- In-language welfare checks: Our staff and Multicultural Peer Support Workers have sprung into action! We are pro-actively telephoning all our clients, focusing on vulnerable and elderly clients to undertake a welfare check, organise practical help and food if needed, provide the latest health information and encourage them to reach out to us whenever needed.
- Online support network: We are establishing an online support network for our clients managed by our Multicultural Peer Engagement Leader to ensure that those who are already vulnerable and isolated do not become further isolated. We will complement this with regular phone contacts by our Multicultural Peer Support Workers.
- Temporary suspension: Our massage and acupuncture community clinics have been temporarily suspended.
- Bilingual information: We have compiled multilingual information about the coronavirus on our website from credible sources such as health departments and World Health Organisation.
- Distancing: Some of our staff are on a rotating roster of working from home and working within the clinic, thereby reducing the number of staff on the premises. Our meetings and office configuration observe the social distancing guidelines.
- Staying up to date: We are attending key meetings with various government officials and the Primary Health Networks to hear directly about the latest directives and most importantly, updates on medical supplies that are needed by all GP clinics.
We continue to provide:
-GP appointments in the clinic and can also provide telehealth appointments and these are bulk billed
-GP appointments for people without Medicare. If you are in a financial position to support this ongoing crucial work, we are very appreciative of any donation – large or small.
-Groceries for vulnerable who have no means to feed themselves. Again, if you are in a position to donate, or if you over-estimated your needs and now have too much food on your hands (!), we need packets of rice, lentils, cooking oil, tea/coffee, biscuits, tinned vegies, jam, peanut butter, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, long life milk etc. please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
From our experience and what we have observed to date, our key concerns are:
-Mainstream public health messages are not reaching our clients
-The economic impacts on our clients who do not have access to Centrelink and other government supports such as international students and those seeking asylum.
-Isolated elderly people living in our local community who are clients of our clinic who also need our support. We are part of the local Greenslopes community response coordinated by our local State MP Joe Kelly.
As we navigate these uncertain times we are focused on continuity of services to our clients. We are already experiencing the rising demand for assistance for the basics such as food, groceries and medicines and we will continue to look for solutions.