From contact tracing to hotel quarantine – Social Work leading the way in Covid-19

Mrs Melanie Wells1, Mr  Patrick Rosser1

1Q Health, Gold Coast, Australia

Social Work was integral to the development and implementation of the human and social health response to the COVID-19 health pandemic on the Gold Coast. This presentation explores the contribution of Social Work in the context of a multidisciplinary disaster management framework. Two Advanced Social Work Practitioners provided leadership in both operational and clinical frameworks in the implementation of Covid Disaster management planning both at the local HHS and state level. The work included leading contact tracing teams and the development, implementation and sustaining of the Hotel quarantine program. These unprecedented circumstances required the rapid development of programs and teams, requiring a variety of staff from clinical and non-clinical areas to be trained. Once staff commenced working in these new areas, difficulties arose including the identification of significant systems and workforce limitations and gaps including; communication skills, relationship building, conflict management, application of ethical practice, a lack of structural understanding and the additional challenge for staff to be able to adapt with the daily changes required to practice in new models of care for an evolving pandemic.  The Social Workers within these teams, championed the knowledge and skills to lead service delivery and assist/educate the new teams to enhance their understanding and ability of delivering disaster management response models of care within an uncertain and extremely heightened work environment. These learnings can shape future disaster management responses and demonstrate the essential contribution of social work.


Biography:

Melanie Wells is currently the Domestic and Family Violence Advanced Social Worker for Gold Coast Health.  Melanie completed a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Queensland and has worked in a variety of settings within the Private and Public Health sectors.  Throughout her career in health she has developed a special interest in Health Leadership. Melanie has recently led Gold Coast Health to becoming the first Magnet designated Health Service in Australia. As a Social Work leader, Melanie has seized opportunities to showcase the valuable contribution that social work offers in health by developing and leading numerous service delivery initiatives across Gold Coast and Queensland, including her contributions to Public Health for Covid-19 response

Patrick Rosser is currently working across the Gold Coast Hotel Quarantine Program as the Social Work Lead. Pat brings unique and valuable clinical and leadership perspectives and experiences that integrates a professional sporting background, contemporary personal Indigenous experience and having worked in a range of clinical, leadership and management roles in the public health system and other sectors such as education and child protection. Pat identifies as a proud Wiradjuri man from Parkes in western NSW. Pat is a member of the GCH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Response Advisory Group. Pat substantively works in the AHS directorate as an Allied Health Workforce Development Officer.

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