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Stretched and Separated in Care

Crystal Fox

“Working with vulnerable individuals, we have to ensure we are fit and healthy”.

Disability support workers nationwide have not had the chance to slow down, with their clients and personal care being in the forefront of their minds. 

The Government stated at the beginning of the pandemic that those with either a chronic illness or disability are vulnerable to this disease and are urged to stay at home. 

Only four years ago 4.9 per cent (27,500) of the Gold Coast population had a severe disability that required assistance in self-care, mobility, and communication. 

According the Australian Bureau of Statistics this number is expected to rise to 191,954 (22.1 per cent) by 2036.

These statistics mean that the disability sector on the Gold Coast is not only now but will be over-run. 

Organisations like the Blue care, Lutheran services and the Gold Coast Disability Advocacy have little capacity to respond to anything that is not a priority service.

Sabrina Woodworth who has been a disability support worker for two and a half years says that their new procedures and precautions have been successful so far. 

“We have ensured that we have kept up to date with all the recommendation supplied to us by the government and the world health organization in terms of social distancing and personal care, to best prevent the spread to vulnerable individuals”. 

Ms Woodworth said that they must put extra effort in keeping themselves fit and healthy and maintain good personal hygiene. 

“For myself I felt that COVID-19 pandemic has added an extra element of fear in terms of infection transmission to my clients”. Sabrina said. 

She says her company has had to adapt to changing their activities and incorporated in-home support to prevent any spread of the virus. 

“So far, implementing these recommendations have proven successful, and we are all really happy with how it is all going”

She says that they all do miss interaction with other staff members and their clients

“I think we are all looking forward to seeing each other again and returning to group activities and community access shifts as per normal”. 

From the beginning of COVID-19, the elderly and anyone who has a disability aged 6 months and above are the most vulnerable to the virus.

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About the Social Impact Projects

The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.