COVID-19 Emergency Response Indigenous Elders Support Program
This program was initiated by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health who have been advocating to the Australian Government and its Department of Health (DoH) the need for a re-focus on an urban strategy for the Indigenous Elderly.
This need has become more apparent as a result of the restrictions imposed on the community because of the COVID-19 pandemic and this program was initiated nationwide to support the many isolated Indigenous Elders. The program was targeted at Elders who have chronic health conditions and have limited aged care or other supports.
The program commenced rolling out in April/May 2020: initially 50 Elders received support from the program and since then the program has grown to supporting over 280 Elders. The program is a short-term emergency response that will last for 6 months. The programs offers Elders weekly welfare checks- conducted by phone and if required face to face; transport to medical appointments; food and meal deliveries; including boxes of groceries, meat and fruit and vegetables; and, referrals to relevant medical, specialist and allied health appointments. The program has been very successful with the Elders being most appreciative of this extra support during this time especially when families are under additional stress and those without family support are struggling even more so because of the restrictions. Approximately 60% of Elders in the program have mental health conditions in association with a range of other chronic health conditions.
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