eAlert: Communicating effectively with residents and families

Following the lockdown of residential aged care facilities across South Brisbane and in the Moreton Bay region last week, Health Consumers Queensland and a consortium of six NGOs (including COTA Queensland, Queenslanders with Disability Network, ADA Australia, Palliative Care Queensland and CarersQLD) co-designed a single checklist and provided a series of resources to enable residential care facilities to communicate effectively with residents and families during an outbreak.

As part of this work, Jo Smethurst facilitated a training session to help facility managers understand the importance of communicating well when/if COVID-19 impacts their facility, and develop a comprehensive communications plan to enable them to be responsive to the individual needs of residents and families. This training session was part of a week-long training series led by the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in Queensland Health.

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eAlert: Addressing the barriers to COVID-19 testing

Queensland’s best defences against a sustained outbreak of COVID-19 via community transmission are quarantine, border controls, testing and contact tracing.

Ahead of reports of new cases of COVID-19 in Brisbane this week, 21 consumers had already joined forces with Department and health staff, Queenslanders with Disability Network and Palliative Care Queensland at a Consumer Conversation on Tuesday to share their views on the top barriers to testing and what can be done to address these and encourage more people to get tested.

During the conversation, it was clear that consumers are looking for a clear and unambiguous testing pathway which is convenient, supportive, nuanced and needs-focused. Yet fear, uncertainty, confusion, misinterpretation and complacency are rife.

Specifically, consumers identified the following ongoing barriers to testing:

  • Difficulty interpreting advice about symptoms
  • Unclear testing pathways
  • The logistics of having a test and managing the consequences are too complicated and overwhelming
  • The need to self-isolate (for several days in rural areas) while awaiting results
  • Pain and trauma associated with testing
  • Perceived lack of social responsibility amongst certain groups of people
  • Fear of stigma and retribution if people do test positive

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