Knowing the risks, eight of our nurses have stepped up as part of the first SA contingent to head to Victoria to assist with the COVID-19 response in the aged care sector.
Geriatrics nurse Tom Elliott, who is originally from Victoria, immediately put his hand up to help.
“I have a lot of friends and family in Victoria and worked previously in aged care and work currently in geriatrics,” he said.
“My girlfriend took a bit of convincing, but she works in aged care and she said ‘this is the right thing to do I think to help these people out who really are a vulnerable part of the community’.”
The team is self-sufficient and taking their own PPE and equipment.
“I think we’re looked after pretty well and we’ll have enough PPE to keep us safe,” Mr Elliott said.
“We’re all here smart enough to know exactly what to do and how to do the right thing, so I think all of the right procedures are put in place for us to keep us as safe as possible.
Geriatrics nurse Emilia Compare said her proud family had given their blessing.
“It’s a huge commitment from all of our families,” she said. “I have a wonderful team that I’m going with. We all have worked in medical and geriatric teams and can bring that knowledge to Victoria.
“We’ll be able to gain knowledge and experience and bring back to SA, because we’re pretty lucky here.”
The team will be going into residential care facilities to provide support to the teams that have been doing it tough for a number of weeks.
The SA nurses are joining Executive Director of Nursing Rebecca Badcock and Nurse Unit Manager Mark Dallman, who left earlier in the week as a forward command team to put plans in place.
It’s been an eye opening experience already.
“What we’re seeing is that the nursing staff and the healthcare workers are doing an amazing job over here,” Ms Badcock said.
“They’re working so hard, they’ve been at it for a number of weeks now they’re tired and fatigued.
“We’ll be splitting them into two teams to go into the two residential care facilities that we’ve been matched to go in and assist.
“The safety of our nurses is always our number one and absolute priority.
“All of our nurses are well-trained and skilled in the use of PPE, and we are bringing all of our own PPE supplies with us, so we know from that perspective, our nurses will be safe going into the facilities, and will be well-stocked with PPE supplies.”
The deployments are initially for two weeks, followed by a two week quarantine period on return.