Golden Age manager and physiotherapist Ivy Li shares her experience working onsite at a COVID-19 positive aged care facility in July 2021.

Part 1

As we emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns and stay at home orders across NSW and Australia, we reflect on the challenges we’ve experienced, particularly in aged care.  Writing as an aged care physiotherapist and manager at Golden Age, and I can definitively mark the turning point of the last lockdown for us.

In July, the delta variant made its way into an aged care facility, infecting staff and residents alike. The site was put on immediate lockdown; residents and staff were placed in isolation, including onsite physiotherapists. This aged care facility is one that Golden Age has worked closely with for some time now, and as such, we were called upon for support in this challenging time.

We received the call in the wee hours of the morning, and were asked if we could urgently prepare a surge team of at least 5 physiotherapists to work onsite. The vast majority of our physiotherapy team were already allocated which made this a difficult task. Some physiotherapists were understandably apprehensive of stepping into this role, with immunocompromised family at home, or concerns for their own health. To minimise risk involved with returning home to our loved ones, the aged care facility kindly offered us rooms to stay in over the course of our work there.

A few days, and many, many meetings and phone calls later (to virtually every physiotherapist we knew/could think of who could start at such short notice), we rounded up a team of 4. This team of 4 included me. One more would join us a few days later. We got our last COVID-19 tests, packed our things, and headed to site. In my 5+ years working as a physiotherapist in private practice and aged care, this would be the biggest challenge of my career so far.

 

Part 2 here.