Sheena Appleyard – Uniting AgedWell
I am grateful to the ACGB for providing their free services for any in aged care staff, residents or families, impacted by COVID-19. I engaged a number of their services both personally and professionally. Personally, I participated in an online, 8-session bereavement support group, to help process the sudden death of my brother (who died interstate during the months-long border restrictions, coinciding with peaking COVID deaths in Victoria and increased vulnerability, anxiety and workloads within aged care). The support group effectively helped me to carry on in my job as a social worker supporting staff, residents and families in aged care. Professionally, The ACGB helped to create peer support groups for staff at two residential aged care facilities. The peer support groups allow a safe space to be vulnerable, support each other and share strategies for self-care. They have improved staff morale, workplace culture and social-connectedness. The same facilitators also hosted family support sessions via Zoom, for families impacted by separation, grief, loss and bereavement associated with COVID-19 lockdowns and visiting restrictions. I would not have felt as effective in my role without these services. Thank you ACGB!