Ann on the phone web

Covid-19 and the AVS

Our Accredited Visitor Service (AVS) has been temporarily adapted to keep people as safe as possible.

Rather than volunteers visiting older people, we’re asking our volunteers to phone or even write letters if they wish. Our volunteers should all have received the following information the week of 16 March 2020:

  • Stop face-to-face visits to your client(s) until further notice.
  • Let your client know that you will be phoning instead of visiting for a while, and that this is to avoid any risk of carrying the coronavirus to them. Also let them know that this is a temporary situation, and that you will visit again as soon as Age Concern lets you know that it is safe to do so.
  • Replace face-to-face visits with phone calls (preferably at the time when you would normally visit).
  • If you are unable to maintain regular phone contact with your client, please let your coordinator know, so that alternate cover can be arranged.
  • Report to your coordinator if you phone, and your client is either ill or not responding, or if you have any other concerns about your client’s wellbeing. If your coordinator is not available, please phone Healthline on  0800 358 5453 (or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453), and ask for advice on how to proceed.
  • Keep a record of the phone calls you make to your client, and report these to your coordinator when you send in your AVS record of visits.
  • Look after your own health, and that of others by following Ministry of Health guidelines for the public around Covid-19.

Thank you again for the invaluable support that you provide to older people who are isolated and lonely. Continued support and reassurance in the form of regular phone calls will be particularly important during this time, when some older people may be feeling very anxious. We ask that you bear this in mind when talking to your client(s) and reassure them that the risk of infection remains low in New Zealand, and that good measures are in place to control the spread of the disease. If you can think of other safe, non-contact ways to let your client know that you continue to think of them, then this may provide added reassurance. Examples are, sending a card, or dropping a bunch of flowers off on their doorstep.

Age Concern will keep in touch, and let you know as soon as it’s safe to begin normal visits again.

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