How the year 2020 transformed volunteering at Glenview
Our volunteer coordinator Karen Parsell is taking part in Volunteering Tasmania’s continuous professional development program, which aims to raise the standards of volunteer leadership across our state.
Here is a reflective article she’s written on volunteering leadership during the pandemic.
A year like no other
The year 2020 transformed volunteering at Glenview.
In March, when our residential aged care facility went into lockdown in accordance with Public Health directives, no visitors were allowed to enter the site unless for end of life care.
The lockdown and partial lockdown of our Windsor Street site took place over 12 weeks, and as part of the restrictions, our entire volunteer team was stood down. This meant that during this time period, we had no volunteers to assist with activities or spend time with residents.
Several months passed with no volunteers being permitted on-site, and many residents expressed how much they missed seeing them on a regular basis. Our volunteers are exceptional at stopping for a quick chat with residents, listening to them and sharing a laugh, which can have a huge impact on their sense of wellbeing.
It is important to acknowledge that 2020 was also a difficult time for families and friends, due to restrictions preventing them from coming on-site to see their loved ones. However, our talented Engagement team worked hard to find ways to help them to stay connected. This led to the creation of Glenview’s Virtual Visitor program, which saw family members and friends book in video calls with residents, which were supported by our Engagement team.
The feedback received from the program shows how much it helped people to cope with the distance and the positive benefits derived from sharing a regular connection time during the lockdown period and beyond.
Thankfully, by the end of the year, we were finally authorised to open our doors for our volunteers to slowly return. But first they had to undertake a series of steps, as required by the Tasmanian Department of Health. This included showing evidence of a current flu vaccination and completing Department of Health COVID-19 online training sessions.
As we now enter 2021, our volunteers are returning in small groups to our Windsor Street site, and are helping out with one-on-one sessions and small group activities, while we continue to comply with physical distancing and group gathering restrictions.
As part of the process of introducing volunteers back on-site, we have provided a dementia training workshop, delivered by Ros Calvert from our business unit, Dementia Tas. Dementia Tas provides training and mentoring to carers, support workers, families/friends and service providers of people who are experiencing dementia-related cognitive changes.
In other news, we’re excited to announce that we will soon welcome new volunteers to Korongee, our village for people living with dementia which opened in July 2020. Our volunteers in the village will have skills in dementia and person-centred care, and will assist where needed. This will include one-on-one sessions with residents, gardening and supporting with activities, and we know they will be a wonderful addition to our Korongee team.
Although COVID-19 is not yet behind us, we are cautiously optimistic about what 2021 brings and the new ways in which we can support our volunteers to continue their amazing work within our community.
– Karen Parsell, Volunteer Coordinator, Glenview Community Services
Find out more about volunteering with us.
Call (03) 6277 8800 or check out our Volunteer page.