Rest-home calls for volunteers

Helping the vulnerable . . . Wyndham and Districts Community Rest Home nurse manager Annette Sinclair is calling for volunteers who could assist with tasks if there is an outbreak there. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

It is only a matter of time before Omicron gets into our rest-homes, but the community is in a position to help, an aged care professional says.

Wyndham and Districts Community Rest Home nurse manager Annette Sinclair said an outbreak there would put further pressure on staff, particularly if some of them needed to self-isolate.

“If Covid comes in, we’re going to have sick people.

“We will need backup support of volunteers from the community for a variety of tasks.”

It could be assisting in the kitchen, preparing food off-site, doing laundry or even something as simple as making cups of tea, she said.

“They might be able to bake something at home to bring in.”

There were protocols in place that would limit the spread of the virus and keep volunteers safe.

Those assisting inside the home would be given protective equipment and training in infection prevention.

“We’re not going to put them at risk,” Ms Sinclair said.

Other than taking the stress off staff, there was another crucial reason they would need help in the event of an outbreak.

“We’ll still have to work. We can’t shut down.”

The best way to limit the spread was to keep “separate bubbles” but this was difficult if staff were performing tasks across multiple areas, she said.

“If we can use some volunteers to pick up other areas that aren’t directly in the red zone, that would be really awesome.”

Ms Sinclair hoped to have a list of volunteers to call upon should an outbreak occur at the home.

“It is just being prepared at the top of the hill, instead of waiting until we’re at the bottom and scrambling for support.”

She encouraged people to get in touch with their local rest-home if they wanted to help.