As the number of COVID cases continues to rise, community health service, cohealth, has recruited an additional 60 staff this week into a program to ensure the continued 7 day / week support of people with COVID who are isolating at home right through the Christmas break and into 2022.
The new recruits represent a doubling of staffing in the COVID Pathways program, which provides support for people who are COVID positive in Melbourne’s West.
The cohealth COVID Pathways assessment program, funded by the State Government, provides health, social and wellbeing supports to ensure everyone in isolation can safely stay at home, with a particular focus on people facing financial difficulty, inappropriate housing, cultural needs and language barriers.
The team includes GPs, nurses, care connectors and ‘runners’ who purchase and drop off essential items. On Christmas Day, a core staff of 30 will be working out of cohealth’s Footscray office in the Pathways program.
This week cohealth Pathways staff are making deliveries of festive food to individuals and families who will be isolating on Christmas day, as well as the usual telehealth wellbeing check-ins.
The cohealth COVID Pathways program was established in late 2020 to provide support to everyone who tests positive in the west of Melbourne. Around 35,000 people have been referred to the program since its inception, equivalent to about 1-in-6 Australians who have had COVID.
cohealth’s COVID Pathways assessment program provides an initial clinical assessment for people who have tested positive to Covid-19 to determine if they are well enough to recover at home under the care of a GP or whether they need hospital care during their illness.
As well as supporting social and mental health, the cohealth Pathways team provides deliveries for those that need it, which has ranged from regular groceries and medication to more unexpected deliveries.
The cohealth team have delivered birthday cakes for children in quarantine, special African spices for families to be able to continue their traditional cooking, a laptop for a Year 12 student studying for exams and negotiated for people to move into hotel quarantine if they were living in rooming houses or sharehouses.
cohealth says that isolating during the festive period has been especially hard for some clients.
“Finding out you have COVID and have to isolate is hard, but knowing you have to be away from friends and family during the holiday season is especially distressing,” said cohealth Chief Executive, Nicole Bartholomeusz.
“When someone gets COVID, it’s critical that we assess their physical health needs, but It’s equally important to assess how isolation is going to affect someone’s social and mental wellbeing. Our program identifies any risk factors that might impact someone’s capacity to isolate and then puts in place the supports they need,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
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More on cohealth:
cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. cohealth provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.
more information: Lanie Harris 0418 552 377 firstname.lastname@example.org