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As we farewell 2021, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy festive season and new year, and welcome a 2022 filled with nothing but joy and good things for all.
This year has proven harder than we may have expected, with COVID-19 entrenching itself in almost every aspect of our lives.
Our work, our schooling, our communities, our recreation and our social lives were all at the mercy of the pandemic – and though fatigued, we pulled together with extraordinary resilience.
Throughout the 2021, the teams at Connect Health & Community and Sandringham Ambulatory Care Centre (SACC) have worked to keep services going in the face of unprecedented challenges in our industry and society.
I am proud of the achievements of both our personnel and our resilient, connected community. By pulling together – while necessarily keeping apart – we were able to tackle and meet each of the challenges in our path.
While we were no longer able to gather in place we recognised the importance of staying connected and embraced technology. With new phone and video services we were able to see clients remotely and maintained essential human connection by adopting stringent COVID-safe practices in every aspect of our work.
The Connect Health & Community service teams quickly assessed the risks faced by clients, volunteers and staff, and modified delivery to ensure services were maintained. Operating under our COVID-safe plan staff in service areas that were not able to see clients filled the roles of volunteers who were not able to continue volunteering and ensured essential assistance was delivered for the most vulnerable members of our community.
The demand for counselling increased during the pandemic and our teams were there to help. Both staff and clients readily embraced online and telehealth opportunities – recognising that we are healthier together, no matter how we do it.
Our Sandringham Ambulatory Care Centre staff found themselves at the frontline, but never faltered, delivering tens of thousands of essential COVID-19 tests to help keep our community safe. Then adapting to the availability of vaccines, provided the much-desired injections of protection to the community.
After 12 months as part of Connect Health & Community, September saw SACC expand its assessment and care services provided at Sandringham Hospital, to those presenting to the emergency department at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville. This service has sped up access to emergency care for those who need it, while assessing and treating non life-threatening cases in a more timely manner.
But it was COVID that dominated our year. Throughout COVID outbreaks, the SACC COVID Positive Care Pathways team supported low-risk COVID positive people to isolate safely in their home until cleared to resume daily activities, and Connect Health & Community staff pivoted to assist the Pathways team during surges.
Our High Risk Accommodation Response team was also front and centre. The team ensured appropriate public health measures were in place to protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable residents in sensitive accommodation settings. They ensured adequate, culturally appropriate and accessible assistance (like health and social services, food and essential supplies) was in place.
And all the while, our organisation kept working as one - driven by the recognised need to keep our community connected to their health in these unprecedented times.
In this edition of the newsletter, you will see that a study by Deakin University earlier this year found Connect Health & Community staff’s resilience compared favourably with other healthcare organisations, demonstrating greater confidence, flexibility and teamwork in the face of COVID.
I am sure this is the result of a true connection between our teams, our volunteers and our community.
I thank you all for this relationship of togetherness and look forward to strengthening that link during 2022. Until then, take care, rest and stay safe.
A youth mental health initiative developed with students during Victoria’s lockdowns, is hoped to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage teens to seek help early.Read More
Our Health Promotion team is supporting early learning centers through the Achievement Program, an initiative that helps services create a healthier environment for their students, staff and families.Read More
This Children’s Week, we asked our paediatric team to share some of their favourite activities for kids that embrace the importance of play for a healthy lifestyle.Read More
Speech pathologists provide assessment and management of communication, swallowing and feeding difficulties.
We have been offering safe and quality door-to-door transport options to our community since 1975.
We provide Occupational Therapy to help children, adults and those experiencing mental health issues, to achieve their full potential.