Queensland Floods – Leonard’s Perfect Disaster Response.

March 11, 2022

The myHomecare Group was featured in the Aged Care News article ‘Sink or swim: Leonard’s professionalism, care and efficiency the perfect disaster response.’

General Manager of Sapphire Living (part of The myHomecare Group) Michelle Leonard, who was affected by the floods gave her account of the flood and how she didn’t let it impact her role.

For a summary of the article read on.

Michelle Leonard’s house was completely inundated by the recent Queensland floods, but she had little time to worry about her personal affairs.

Leonard is the General Manager for The myHomecare Group’s brand Sapphire Living, which has its offices in Oxley, one of the worst-hit regions in Brisbane. 

The myHomecare Group serves 21,000 older Australians across the country, so her priority was to make sure their lives were taken care of.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure that all of our clients are safe.”

She shares how a proactive strategy had to be formed in order to ascertain the status of each and every client.

This is because not everyone in their care had the capacity to do so themselves.

Strategic partnerships and collaboration are vital.

Leonard says managing rosters and switching to supplemental workforces were essential to maintaining continuity of care.

With roughly 20 to 40 workers on the road, systems were in place to ensure each worker was accounted for.

“We utilised not only our own staff, but we partnered with other organisations in the area,” she says.

“There might be, say, four or five streets in an area that’s totally isolated from everybody else, so we looked and asked ‘do we have any clients in that area?’ Yes, we do. ‘Do we have staff in that area?’ Yes, we do.”

Each of the Care Managers and Assistant Care Managers were allocated a list of clients to call.

Following this, they would identify their level of risk through a detailed checklist, including questions such as:

  • Are you still at home?
  • Have those floodwaters isolated you?
  • Do you have water?
  • Do you have internet?

Having a national network also strengthened Leonard’s ability to adapt to power outages in her flooded Oxley offices.

“Our IT team were ready and waiting: if we lost power and internet, they were ready to divert all our phones down to NSW or to WA.”

“I think that’s one of the benefits of a national team … it gives you some resilience.”

Checking in with workers is part of the duty of care.

Looking after staff well-being in such a precarious time was paramount.

“We would send them out constant reminders, texts, saying, ‘if it’s flooded, forget it.”

Providers should adapt packages to facilitate Queensland floods post-trauma care.

“The Queensland floods have had a devastating effect on these communities, especially our elderly”.

As a result of the floods, Michelle acknowledges the devastation to these communities and stresses the need for mental health support. Changing their Home Care Package to get some social support will be done if necessary.

Patricia Kimber, an 89-year-old myHomecare Group client, and her daughter Tanya are good examples of this. As a result of the floods, their home was partially submerged.

Due to this, they had to relocate to a family member’s house, 40 minutes away. However, The myHomecare Group’s Sapphire Living team redeployed workers to ensure Pat’s care wouldn’t be disrupted.

The workers continued looking after Pat’s Level 4 care which consists of daily hygiene and safety while her daughter Tanya is at work.

However, Leonard says she will continue to provide whatever additional assistance Pat and Tanya need to support their psychological recovery.

If you would like to read this story in full, click here.

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