Not forgetting business as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic – safe and quality care

Jean’s story of maintaining wellbeing during COVID-19 restrictions

The following case study is based on the experience of ACSA Consultants supporting members through COVID-19

28 Apr 2020

‘Jean’ is a 74-year-old woman living in Garden Village. She has a history of COPD and asthma, hypertension, anxiety and Type 1 diabetes. She is able to walk very small distances around her room. Jean always loved to garden and enjoy exercise which is becoming increasingly difficult.

Recently she has exhibited a change in behaviours with escalated angry vocalisation and lashing out at staff, reduced appetite and increased complaints, all of which are not her usual characteristics.

The Clinical Nurse undertook a delirium screen, which was clear and then spoke with her GP.  However, they were unable to determine the reasons behind the changed behaviour. Staff approached the Care Manager, requesting the GP visit to consider medication to address escalating behaviours.

The Care Manager spent time talking with Jean and found that she was experiencing increased fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. Jean expressed concern that she was having to confront the prospect of death sooner than she desired. She also expressed loneliness and loss of role since the COVID-19 restrictions.

Jean was referred to a counsellor with experience in wellbeing. A plan was implemented that included counselling, short walks outdoors, small group gardening activities, connecting with a pen-pal and a sensory trolley with garden theming for rainy days.

Additionally, the Care Manager acknowledged that her focus recently was completing the COVID-19 preparedness and emergency management plan and less time on the floor leading the team to promote resident health and wellbeing. The manager took the opportunity to have a team huddle where she shared with staff tips in promoting resident wellbeing during the COVID-19 restrictions.

These included:

  • Turning the news updates off the large communal TV and replacing it with more pleasant viewing such as music, rolling photos, cooking, fishing or gardening shows;
  • Encouraging staff to use resident personal ‘my story’ to engage in conversation of interest;
  • Staff being mindful of their conversations and use of language to reduce fear and support residents emotionally;
  • Support residents to maintain routines and seek alternatives where physical distancing is restricting usual activities, e.g. change in lifestyle programs to include smaller group activities and exercises and use of technology; and
  • Importance of staff identifying and reporting early changes in health AND wellbeing during monitoring rounds.


The staff not only noticed a shift in positive experience for the residents, but also for the staff as they enjoyed supporting the residents to live the best life they can.


The Lantern Project has published top tips in supporting residents during physical distancing to help reduce risks of malnutrition, social isolation and reduced mobility. View them here


The ACQSC have released advice for residential aged care services Supporting safe, quality care for aged care consumers during visitor restrictions. View the advice here


For more information on ACSA Consultancy contact Julie Anderson, Senior Manager - Consultancy at


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