Dialing in to self-isolation

From late March, VCC EM asked volunteers to provide phone support to people adversely affected by self-isolation. Those we contacted had requested calls to check on their needs and just have a chat about how they were coping.

Armed with a script and after a quick heads up we embarked on our mission. Calling strangers without the visual clues to their conditions can be challenging, but we were able to establish rapport and draw out any problems or concerns. 

Reflections by Barbara:
A young refugee woman self-isolating while fasting for Orthodox Easter was given a food package that contained items she was abstaining from. Her faith was strong and she was not eating enough at all. I was able to direct her to the Refugee Support service near her home. 

Another woman caring for a young adult male on the autism spectrum was unable to procure the few, specific food items that he would eat, but assured me she would be OK if he became violent because she had a Rottweiler to protect her. She was able to communicate with his special school to obtain a laptop for him to do his schoolwork and was planning to contact more support services I mentioned.

Another woman, a paraplegic being cared for by her mother, had been refused the delivery service by Woolworths, so we organised an extra care package for them.

Services provided by the government were more than reasonable, but the people we contacted were often able to gain extra services when we intervened and they all appreciated the support we provided.

It was most rewarding to be able to provide some support under these circumstances.
Reflections by Peter:
I felt quite excited about this deployment as I prepared for the pre-shift video meeting. Either the technology or the user messed up, but either way I missed the briefing.

Undaunted I made my first call to be greeted by the words: “I was waiting for your call’’. My confidence and enthusiasm began to return as we chatted about her situation and needs.

Being in a rural location, this person described her situation it as ‘”being as quiet as church mice’’. I paused and said that those words reminded of children’s books by Graham Oakley and we happily reminisced about reading those books with our children.

With the mood softened, the person became peaceful and reflective as she recalled the pleasures of reading and sharing the laughter with her children. We drifted into silence, which ended with her long satisfied sigh.

In that profound moment we had deeply connected sharing that beautiful experience.

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