Safeguarding during the pandemic
Eveline Fallshaw is a Regional Convenor (Volunteer Team Leader) of the Community Visitors (Disability Stream) Program.
In 2020, when Melbourne went into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, OPA's volunteers were unable to make face-to-face visits, and conducted all visits by phone or video.
"When I first heard about remote visiting, I was rather sceptical," Eveline said.
"Having been a Community Visitor for several years, I understand the value of our face to face interactions and felt that a ‘remote’ visit, where we spoke, by appointment, to a staff member and then taken via an iPad to see residents wasn’t a patch on the real thing. However, I was very pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.
The best thing about remote visiting is the smile on residents’ faces when they see us on a small screen. Some are intrigued and others immediately greet familiar faces and take great delight in showing recent craft projects, the way they’ve rearranged the furniture in their room, or even their much loved moggy. Being locked down for weeks means residents have missed contact with friends and family even if the house staff have facilitated regular outside contact. Having someone new come to call is clearly a special event that brightens their day and has been much appreciated.
Staff have universally been helpful, open and forthcoming. We have been able to follow up on incident reports, flu shots, COVID precautions, and how staff have supported residents who have been unable to attend day placements for several months. It’s also been useful to follow up on issues from previous visits."