Topic: OPTIMISING HEALTH AND WELL-BEING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Day: Monday 12 October

Time:  3:30pm-4:00pm AEDT

Abstract:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government recommended at-risk groups, including older persons and persons with co-morbid conditions, self-isolate. Self-isolation will help protect older people from contracting COVID-19, however it reduces their opportunity to partake in health prevention/promotion including physical activity, and places them at heightened risk of social isolation, loneliness, and depression. Bolton Clarke implemented three innovative programs to address these concerns in clients receiving home-based care, and residents in retirement and aged care communities.

The Helping Others with Respect and Unity (HOW-R-U?) program is based on an existing intervention that successfully reduced feelings of loneliness and depressive symptoms in older people following Emergency Department discharge. It incorporates regular telephone calls from volunteers to provide social support to clients and residents while they experience significant periods of social isolation as imposed by the pandemic.

The Be Healthy & Active program aims to help people stay independent at home for longer, by providing them with practical information on how to maintain their health and well-being. Sessions are normally one-hour presentations delivered nationally to community groups; however, physical distancing challenged us to rethink how these sessions could be provided. In order to empower and support these individuals to manage their own health and well-being, we adapted the program into a video series addressing healthy ageing, stress and mindfulness, fatigue and sleep, nutrition and falls prevention. These videos are used to support individuals to take on elements of their care that would have otherwise been monitored by health professionals or members of their support network during the pandemic.

To address the challenge of creating opportunities for social connection among older people during this period of physical distancing, the Innovation Tournament for staff and residents in care homes and retirement living developed creative solutions to keeping people connected. Fostering collaboration and a sense of achievement and keeping with the principles of person-centredness and “nothing about us, without us”, residents and staff co designed 51 ideas to keep people connected, during the pandemic and beyond.

In this presentation participants will learn about the ways in which community and aged care can pivot during a large-scale health crisis not only to continue providing health care to clients and residents, but to support additional health and social needs throughout this time. They will also learn about the challenges and benefits of launching new and re-purposing existing programs during this time. 

 

 

 

Biography:

Judy is the Head of Research and Principal Research Fellow at Bolton Clarke; an adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at The University of Queensland; and an adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, and in the Institute of Future Environments, Queensland University of Technology.
Bolton Clarke Research Institute is embedded within one of Australia’s largest community health and aged care service provider that supports clients through community nursing, home support, retirement living and residential aged care.
Judy’s research is underpinned by a 25-year career as an allied health clinician and health service manager; and her specific interest is epidemiological and gerontological health services research that uses co-design with all end-users from project development through to implementation, with the goal of improving the quality and safety of care for older people.