Staff from South Australia’s Lutheran aged-care providers didn’t hesitate to put up their hands when the call went out for personnel to assist in Victoria during the COVID-19 crisis, as part of the National Aged Care Emergency Response (NACER) program.
Five staff from Lutheran aged-care facilities were deployed to Melbourne’s COVID hotspots, including three from LHI Retirement Services and two from Fullarton Lutheran Homes in suburban Adelaide.
LHI Retirement Services CEO Graham Reed said that the two personal care workers and one cleaner recruited from his facility were selected from a number of volunteers, after the urgent government call-out.
‘We had several staff consider the request and the final three were selected for their resilience and sense of calling’, he said.
‘All of the volunteers from LHI and other SA aged-care organisations participated in a two-hour briefing session with a representative of the Commonwealth Department of Health that pointed out the challenges that the staff would face on the ground in nursing homes that were in dire need of staff – not one of the staff pulled out after the briefing.’
Graham expressed his admiration for the volunteers, saying he had stayed in touch with them during their deployment and subsequent quarantine period.
‘I am in awe of the decision that all these staff made to head over to Victoria into what they knew would be very dangerous and personally challenging circumstances’, he said. ‘They all maintained a very positive attitude in spite of some setbacks and appreciated the opportunity to serve.’
The LHI staff members were deployed in teams for a four-week stint working in Melbourne facilities deemed most in need, followed by two weeks in quarantine when they crossed back over the South Australian border.
Deployed as a personal care worker, Monei Seduku says she felt ‘blessed’ to have the opportunity to serve others during the pandemic. ‘Service to humanity is the most gratifying aspect of my life’, she said. ‘Some say “Plant trees under whose shadow you do not expect to stay” and the Bible says “Blessed is the hand that giveth”.’