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Connect Health & Community staff participated in a study by Deakin University and the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) earlier this year, designed to help understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community health staff.
The once in a lifetime pandemic has had a massive impact on all aspects of society, with community health services being no exception.
The aim of the study, conducted over March and April, was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on community health service staff and determine how Connect Health & Community compares with other organisations in how staff were impacted by the pandemic.
Specifically the study looked at the relationship between how the pandemic impacted staff feelings and behaviours.
Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said the results showed that the Connect Health & Community team compared favourably with other organisations, demonstrating greater confidence, flexibility and teamwork in the face of COVID.
“Our teams’ ability to work through the issues and provide services to clients, while still operating at high levels, was outstanding. The study helps the broader community understand that while they focussed on serving the community, our clinicians are also affected by the pandemic,” she said.
“Our staff worked, and continue to work, tirelessly to help meet the changes of the pandemic, and the survey showed more than 85 percent of staff had to significantly change the way they delivered service to clients, compared with 80 percent of other healthcare workers,” she said.
Connect Health & Community staff were slightly less concerned (42%) for their families health than other health care workers (48%) and less concerned their clients would contract the virus (25%) compared with other healthcare colleagues (36%).
When it came to diversifying their work, Connect Health & Community staff experienced a bigger change to the work tasks they did (85%) compared with their industry colleagues (81%), but the pandemic also sought to strengthen organisational relationships, with more Connect Health & Community (37%) staff saying the situation brought them closer their manager than broader peers (32%).
And with greater change in roles, Connect Health & Community staff didn’t feel as much reduction in workload (6.3%) compared with their industry colleagues (12%).
But like their industry peers (51%), half of Connect Health & Community staff (52%) believed the COVID-19 pandemic brought them closer to their families.
CEO Amanda Murphy said the study proved the Connect Health & Community team is second to none.
“For more than a year our team demonstrated outstanding resilience, dedication and camaraderie to help keep our community connected to its health and wellbeing in this most challenging of times. I am not only grateful on behalf of their efforts on behalf of the organisation, but also the community,” she said.
Given the protracted nature of the pandemic, a second study was conducted later in the year, with results yet to be finalised.
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