On Wednesday the 12th of January, Victorian’s watched in awe as the news announced 40,127 new COVID-19 cases in the community. The same morning, Afford’s Lifestyle Assistant, Jennifer North, received a phone call that her customer Dominic had tested positive.

As the local infection numbers rose during December, Afford’s Pandemic Response Team created an effective action plan with very strong safety measures to care for residents who test positive. The plan focuses on maintaining our resident’s wellbeing, controlling contamination and providing round the clock care.

Jennifer shares her experience caring for Dominic and how they came out the other side of COVID-19 with a new appreciation for friendship and family.

“Going into isolation and caring for Dominic and the others at Point Cook was a challenge that I am so glad I took on. I got so much more than I expected out of the seven-day isolation, both professionally and personally. I would do it again,” said Jennifer.

At the same time that Dominic tested positive, so did two residents from Rosebush and one from Ferndown Supported Accommodation. Lifestyle Assistants Laila Bakhshi and Denis Kirui volunteered to support them. Everyone moved into the vacant Point Cook Short Term Accommodation home to minimise the risk of infecting others and continued wearing complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Their daily focus was monitoring symptoms, constantly cleaning and ensuring everyone was comfortable and settled in their new environment.

“Being in a new setting with new faces had its challenges but we were all in to make this work and have minimal behaviour issues. One thing that helped the residents bond was the team isolation song, Cold Heart, by Elton John and Dua Lipa. We played it every morning to lift everyone’s spirits. We also fostered teamwork by calling ourselves the Point Cook Crusaders and making sure everyone demonstrated respect,” she continued.

Taking turns controlling the tv remote, having sing-alongs to the tunes of Dominic’s guitar and face-timing their friends and families kept everyone’s welbeing in check for the week. Thankfully, isolation was over on Wednesday the 19th of January and everyone could return to their homes.

“The camaraderie I built with Laila and Denis is so special. Even the residents have created newfound friendships by going through this together. We would love to host a barbecue to keep in contact once it is safe to do so,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer has continued to test negative to COVID-19 in her routine rapid antigen testing. She attributes this to PPE, her booster vaccination and diligently cleaning.

“Afford provided us with infection control training and I have been a Scout leader in the past where I cared for over 12,000 kids on camp. I implemented dilly bags (individual cutlery for everyone) as another infection control procedure. Before signing up to isolate, staff should know they need to be very disciplined and it requires you to be ready to respond 24 hours a day,” Jennifer explained.

Thank you, Jennifer, Laila, Denis and all staff who have volunteered to care for our residents with COVID-19. We appreciate you putting their needs first and going above and beyond to make sure they are comfortable at all times.

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