Maintaining a resilient and effective Allied Health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ms Rebecca Tivendale1

1Western Health, St Albans, Melbourne , Australia

Western Health was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 44% of Victorian cases residing within our catchment area. The pandemic led to natural increases in stress and anxiety for many health care workers with uncertainty, disruption to usual routines, new methods of working and distancing requirements impacting on individual’s and team’s wellbeing and mental health. To maintain a resilient and effective Allied Health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff wellbeing support was identified as a priority area and several new programs and opportunities were implemented.

New methods of clinical supervision were trialled to enhance connectedness, communication and reflection. This included a transition to more frequent supervision sessions, group supervision for peer support and additional training and resources for supervisors, including mental health first aid. Social connection was facilitated via planned activities such as trivia, mindfulness, bingo and Yoga. Professional development sessions on resilience, moral distress, motivational interviewing and health anxiety were delivered.

Communication was carefully considered, with regular updates from senior leadership, two way feedback strategies instigated and a central repository for accessing evidenced based information on wellbeing strategies and support mechanisms created. Access to organisational initiatives including breakout spaces and onsite Employee Assistance Programs were also available.

This presentation aims to share some of the strategies implemented at Western Health to support Allied Health workforce wellbeing. While there was no single optimal way to do this, employing a range of options and enabling staff to choose their preferred methods for maintaining wellbeing was found to be most beneficial.


Biography:

Rebecca is the Allied Health workforce education lead at Western Health. She has a passion for supporting and developing the Allied Health Workforce. In various roles has implemented clinical supervision practices, capability frameworks and has started an inquiry into efficacy of clinical supervision within the allied health workforce.

When COVID 19 hit supporting and caring for the workforce became her priority.

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