Life as a Volunteer in a COVID19 Aged Care Home

Meath Care employee, Mark, spent 28 days in Melbourne recently as an aged care volunteer in a COVID19 positive nursing home.

We caught up with him once he’d completed his hotel quarantine to ask him a bit about himself and his experience in Melbourne.

Mark immigrated to Australia from South Africa in February 2010 and became a naturalised Australian on 1 November 2015.

Part of the naturalisation process included a pledge to be loyal to Australia and its people, he explained, which is why he decided to volunteer.

“Australia has been good to me, I wanted to contribute something back and repay my debt.”

He flew out of Perth on Friday, 2 September 2020 and was put up at speciality accommodation in Melbourne with other volunteers.

His training commenced the next day and once completed, he met the other staff members at the centre who were grateful for the extra support.

“They were very tired and some were sick, they’d been working 110 hours per week, so they were really happy to see us.”

Mark’s training was continually being updated as new protocols came to hand.

“We worked off a live document which was constantly updated so we knew we had the very latest knowledge and procedures, which gave us confidence.”

Mark was in a team of 6, working six shifts per week from 3 pm in the afternoon until 10 pm in the evenings.  Upon returning to his apartment each night after his shift, there were strict procedures to follow.

“I’d arrive back at the apartment and go straight to the laundry downstairs where I’d remove all items of clothing which were washed immediately.  This is followed by a long shower, making sure I spent a lot of time scrubbing, to avoid any contamination.” Mark said.

We asked him if he was frightened of contracting COVID.

“For the first 2 or 3 days I was really frightened, after that I developed a bit more confidence. My anxiety must’ve been there subconsciously, as I dreamt I had COVID in week 3, which was very scary.”

He was tested for COVID every 3 days, which he found unpleasant but necessary.

“The testing wasn’t very pleasant but at least it gave us some reassurance that we were COVID free.”

Mark completed his voluntary work and returned to Perth in early October to commence 2 weeks hotel quarantine.

We welcomed him back with a celebration! We’re so proud he’s a part of our organisation, he truly embodies the Meath Care values.