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International Day of Older Persons

Today we’re celebrating the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, with this year being dedicated to the nurse – a role that has changed and influenced the lives of many, especially here at Feros Care.

In a year dominated by a global pandemic, our health professionals have proven yet again just how incredible they are in the face of unprecedented upheaval, putting their own lives at risk for the care of others.

At Feros Care, we’re passionate about doing our best to care for the elderly in Australia – not just improving the quality of their lives but, in some cases, changing them completely. From introducing new technologies to their lives and revolutionizing
how they can make contributions to their own health, to offering support, strength and all-new hobbies.

The United Nations believes that no one should be left behind. Here’s how we’re making sure of it.

Our Virtual Care Team

“Nurses have always been a jack of all trades,” says Clare Bock, one of our Virtual Care Clinicians for Feros Care. Clare has years of experience with face-to-face triage and providing advice to people in the emergency department;
her role now allows her to combine everything in one, providing clinical advice to our Wellbeing Managers, reviewing clinical requests and speaking directly to clients to determine which services are best suited to them.

This includes our Telehealth program, with over 100 clients. “We set up a tablet in the client’s home and they can monitor their oxygen, blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate and more via Bluetooth devices,” Clare explains. “That
information gets sent to us to monitor on an overall dashboard, allowing us to see at a glance where they may need services in place.”

By monitoring a person’s vital signs from the comfort of their own home, our health team are able to identify acute or chronic episodes and contact the client to discuss best management.

This has become particularly essential in the era of COVID-19, where people are in lockdown. “It’s no longer easy to call a relative for help or get to a GP or self-manage when you’re unwell,” Clare notes. “It’s just
all about empowering people to look after themselves and optimizing that self-management.”

Our Smart Home Modifications program is another example of empowering clients to optimize self-management – with a range of devices to dramatically improve their day-to-day life. These might include virtual light strips along the floor that automatically
turn on with motion; robotic vacuum cleaners, electronic door locks; personal alarms; fall detectors; voice command technology and so much more. A world of possibilities, and it all starts with Feros Care.

Community Services

It doesn’t stop on the technology side. SJ Roberts is a Registered Nurse in our Community Services team and has worked as a nurse for over thirty years. Her passion is in Palliative Care, and many Feros Care clients have conditions
in place that are deemed as palliative.

It’s people like SJ who make such a valuable contribution to checking in on clients and doing everything they can to empower the client, while also making a significant difference in their lives.

“I just want my clients to utilise what’s on offer to them to keep them as healthy, comfortable and happy as possible,” SJ explains. “We’ve all got to look after our health. It’s now becoming more widely accepted that
there are other ways of treating pain or conditions, such as massage, physio, and acupuncture. We can work with a client for what suits them best.

SJ also does wound care, referrals to help clients, and works specifically with all her aged clients to try to keep them in their own home for as long as possible.

SJ gives the example of one client who has cancer and was losing weight rapidly whilst undergoing chemotherapy. Clare recommended that a dietitian come in to help with her diabetes and glucose levels, and supplements to assist with weight gain, while
she continued to go to the hospital for oncology reviews.

“I could not believe the transition from the recommendations I’d put in place, and it has all contributed to her improving in her general health,” SJ explains. “I can go home at the end of the day knowing that I’ve done a
good job, and that’s what is most important to me.”

Working through COVID-19

It’s not often that a global pandemic shifts everything we know about the world. COVID-19 has had an impact on every individual, no matter the circumstances; but overwhelmingly, it’s affected those that may have already felt loneliness and
a disconnection from society.

“It’s really the uncertainty of not knowing when it [COVID-19] will end,” Clare says. “Our elderly clients are feeling, well, I haven’t got that many years left – I don’t have time to spend them in lockdown!”

Nurses are dedicated to using their personal protective equipment and abiding by all policies and procedures to keep themselves, their clients and their families healthy while also making a dedicated effort to reduce social isolation where possible.

“We do have clients with long-term mental health issues, and it’s very important as a nurse to assess where they’re at with COVID-19, especially as they may not be able to see their families,” SJ says. “It takes its toll
on everybody. But clients do enjoy me coming and we talk about all sorts of things – I show them photos and we chat about what might be going on in their lives. We take a very holistic view of their wellbeing.”

Feros Care’s Virtual Social Centre has also been a powerful resource for those that may have been isolated at home. The program offers clients the opportunity to engage in exercise classes, learn a new language, catch up with other clients, or even
try new arts and crafts from the comfort of their home.

There truly is something for everyone – including, and not limited to, poetry reading, music, writing, and painting. Healthy living sessions like nutrition and health literacy. Open mic story telling, music concerts and virtual tours. It’s
all there, with more than 60 online sessions broadcasted by professionals and volunteers each week.

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