Aged care residents become digitally savvy to beat COVID isolation

Friday, 29 October 2021
Kim Zischke with two patients

The lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the health and quality of life of all Australians are yet to unfold.

Ahead of the curve, an aged care facility in the small town of Kingaroy in Queensland is proactively working to minimise the effects of physical distancing and social restrictions on their residents by embracing technology.

Service Manager of Orana Lutheran Services Kym Zischke says technology has helped them to continue meeting the health needs of residents.

“We worked with our Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN through the pandemic and were able to connect up health services using a lot more telehealth.”

Kym says helping residents stay connected with family and friends has been a high priority and improving their digital capabilities has been one of the positives out of the COVID crisis. 

“We've developed a lot of iPads and things for families to keep in touch, which I think has been a real positive that's come out of the pandemic which will be something that will continue on.

“Even our local library were involved, providing iPad classes on site for our residents. So, they were learning how to use technology and the facility's wifi and a lot of them have been able to have video calls with their families.”

Kym says the local health services, GPs and pharmacies in Kingaroy and surrounds have rallied together during the pandemic, which has strengthened relationships and helped to implement the vaccination program throughout the region.

“Our PHN has worked in really, really well with us to have vaccination hubs on site, which has enabled easy access for Orana staff and residents to be vaccinated, and also for vulnerable community members and frontline health workers. This has made a big difference for people to be able to get vaccinated quickly.”

“We've been keeping residents up to date with a lot of information and that has reassured them and made them feel quite comfortable that they could access the vaccination and get that if they wished.”

Working on the frontline of the health system, Kym supports the vaccination program and is encouraging everyone to consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their families, friends and local community.  

“I got vaccinated way before it was mandatory because number one, I work with vulnerable people, but also for myself and for family. I felt that it was important to get vaccinated.”