Without Home Support, Sale resident Shirley Osmand is convinced she would not have made her 91 years.

“I can’t do without Home Support,” Shirley said. “It means I can stay in my house and live comfortably. Having that help has made all the difference in my life.”

Shirley knows of other Home Support clients that are cancelling their services, either out of fear for catching the coronavirus (COVID-19) or feeling they have to, to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“I understand their concerns and fears but if anyone should come into your home, it’s a healthcare worker,” she said. “I can’t imagine what their life is like now without Home Support.”

Central Gippsland Health (CGH) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Frank Evans, said the essential service was operating as normal and encouraged families to support their loved ones to continue using Home Support.

“CGH has incorporated a number of extra measures to ensure the safety of Home Support staff and clients during this pandemic,” he said, “this includes calling all clients the day before to monitor their health, stricter hygiene practices and adhering to social distancing guidelines.”

“We are very closely monitored,” said Community Care Worker, Robyn Sullivan. “Our client’s welfare is our priority and CGH is not taking any risks.”

Robyn visits Shirley every Friday to help with domestic duties and takes her shopping every fortnight. “We don’t visit them if we are not 100 per cent sure that we should,” Robyn said.

On their shopping trips, Shirley sits in the back seat of Robyn’s car. They stop at the bank before continuing on to do groceries. Under the new arrangements for COVID-19, Shirley remains in the car reading a book while Robyn does the grocery shopping. This ensures Shirley still gets to leave her home safely and is isolated from areas where people gather.

“Home Support is more than just about getting my house cleaned,” Shirley said. “Robyn is a part of my family. She knows when I’m not feeling myself. I have someone to look over me.”

For more information about Home Support, go to http://www.cghs.com.au/community-services/homesupport-services/.

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