Irish Wheelchair Association’s frontline workers support people with physical disabilities in their homes during COVID-19 crisis.
Irish Wheelchair Association’s frontline workers are delivering vital services to people with physical disabilities in homes across Ireland throughout the COVID 19 crisis. The organisation has also set up an emergency response team to continue to reach people with disabilities, who may become sick with the coronavirus and isolated.
Michael Doyle, National Director of Assisted Living Services, said:
This is a very worrying time for people who use our services and are dependent on our assistance to allow them to remain living safely in their own homes. Many of them are aware that due to their disability they are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
Members of our assisted living and community outreach teams are among the many heroic frontline healthcare staff who are courageously committed to reaching the most vulnerable during this very difficult time.
Our assisted living workers are visiting people’s homes, helping them to live independently and to carry out vital everyday tasks such as personal care, cooking and household chores.
Our outreach team is providing social support such as setting up free Skype and Zoom accounts so people can still see their families during social distancing measures, enabling people to do online shopping, setting up online library accounts, helping people to pay online bills and assisting people to apply for welfare payments.
Activities that would usually take place in our community centres are being brought to people’s homes, such as arts and crafts. We are developing an online physical and mental wellness package, so people can access low-impact exercise classes and mindfulness tools to help people stay well physically and mentally as the crisis takes hold.
The new emergency response team will act as a third layer of support following family and the HSE, if one of our service users has to go into self-isolation. Since the start of March, we have recruited a large number of volunteers from our staff and started training them in the use of PPE and the protocols around working in a high-risk environment.
This emergency team will work on a case-by-case basis supporting essential care needs. This level of determination and willingness of our frontline staff is a testament to the dedication they have to the people they support and their willingness to go above and beyond in their work.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Irish Wheelchair Association has been forced to postpone its nationwide fundraising activities and close its network of charity shops. Like many organisations and businesses it has regrettably had to lay off valued staff members temporarily, who have contributed greatly to building its services to where they are today.
The charity supports 4,000 people with physical disabilities every week in Ireland across a spectrum of needs and is now appealing to the public for support.
Each year Irish Wheelchair Association needs to raise €2million over and above our HSE funding to keep our vital services running,
said Michael Doyle.
We are aware that it is a difficult time for everyone and we’re asking people to make a donation to support our frontline workers, if they can afford to.