“My philosophy with clients is to always leave them with a smile on their face and that hasn’t changed.” We spoke with our Community Support Worker, Brian, about how he has been supporting BGF clients during lockdown, COVID-19 responses by BGF, COVID-19 related health concerns his clients have raised with him and more...
“My philosophy with clients is to always leave them with a smile on their face and that hasn’t changed. The way I support my clients has not changed too much outside of additional safety precautions such as using appropriate PPE and practicing social distancing when visiting client homes. Just having a laugh with clients has a huge impact on their mental health. During Easter I visited clients wearing bunny ears and carrying an Easter basket which always got a laugh and that in turn helps build my relationship with those clients. But contrary to rumour I did not wear a bunny tail. "
Because of COVID-19 restrictions Brian has had the opportunity to spend more time with our clients which they have really enjoyed.
“For many, a visit from a BGF support worker is the highlight of their day.”
One recent highlight that Brian had and attributed it to having more time with one of his clients was assisting him in having his house repainted.
“A success I have had is in relation to one of my clients who needed his house painted due to black mould. At the time of my visit, he had been on the waiting list with public housing for quite some time, so I was able to use that information to move him up the list to get his house painted due to the danger that mould can pose to someone, particularly through the lens of COVID-19 and clients with a compromised immune system. So, I count that as a success.
Without the extra time and chats I have with clients I may not have heard about this problem.
Community support for clients from the HIV sector has been great. It is business as usual for many albeit working from home and/or under strict distancing restrictions. For example, ACON have had a free food service which has been invaluable for many of our clients.”
As mentioned in past interviews with BGF Community Support Workers social isolation and accessibility to health services has been a shared concern amongst clients. Fortunately, BGF has been able to alleviate the stress and anxiety triggered by these challenges with the work that Brian and the BGF team are performing everyday.
“The most pressing concerns clients have, has been around access to services, their general health and of course the big one for many is isolation.
BGF’s continued support during COVID-19 has been invaluable. Most of our clients look forward to seeing us and it can often be the highlight of their day, particularly as many of them are self-isolating and have very few if any visitors.”