Drop-in centres, ward visits and mindfulness: supporting our heroes through COVID-19

Workplace Wellness team members (front) Shari Hendricks and Ken Poon with (back, from left) Tayla Brady, Catherine Ladomatos, Helen Ryan, Stella Lobo, Anthony Ellison and Glenda Rodil.

Ward visits, virtual coaching and mindfulness sessions are just some of the ways Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSHLD) People & Culture team are supporting staff through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drop-in centres have been established to support staff with someone to talk to whenever they need it, courtesy of a Workplace Wellness team made up of staff from across the organisation.

The Workplace Wellness team is predominantly made up of organisational development and learning staff, in collaboration with human resource business partners and other staff groups throughout the District.

They are visiting staff at WSLHD hospitals and community health centres to provide a friendly check in – while complying with social distancing measures.

So far, more than 1,000 staff have interacted with a consultant through a visit.

People and culture team are visiting all areas of the LHD in purple vests providing support to staff that may be feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19 and changes to the workplace.

Organisational development consultant and Workforce Wellness team co-leader Shari Hendriks said everyone should be commended for rapidly adapting to many workplace changes.  

“COVID-19 has changed the way we work and care for ourselves, as well as our families, colleagues and patients,” Shari said.

“Working in the health environment and experiencing a pandemic of this magnitude can naturally lead to an increase in anxiety, confusion and challenges for staff both at work and home.

“It’s a privilege to be able to support our extraordinary healthcare staff who are working tirelessly to keep our communities healthy, and to witness staff pulling together to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.

“We are here to help all staff to feel more informed, supported, focused and valued during this difficult time.”

Shari Hendriks talks to nurse unit manager Harshani Senanayake.

WSLHD People & Culture executive director Luci Caswell said the team is doing everything possible to support staff, both clinical and non-clinical.

“We’re here to advise staff and their families on how they can stay physically and emotionally well, obtain referrals to other support services such as a manager coaching service, or simply for someone to talk to,” Luci said.

“We want our staff to feel supported and ensure they have the right tools and resources in place to help them get through this challenging time.”

Drop-in centres are located at Westmead Hospital WECC L1.03 and Blacktown Hospital’s Erella Macaulay Conference Room Building B, Level 3. 

Information points will open soon at Auburn and Mount Druitt hospitals, to find out where and when click here.

Staff or managers wishing to learn more about how the Workplace Wellness Team should visit the COVID-19 Intranet page under Staff Wellbeing.  

To access other resources, staff can click on Support for Staff and managers can visit Support for Managers.  

Enquiries can also be made by calling 9840 3637 or emailing WSLHD-OD&L@health.nsw.gov.au