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Staying connected during a global pandemic: telephone support for vulnerable populations

Venville, A, Willis, K, Adler, V, Kostecki, KC and Rollins, W 2021 , 'Staying connected during a global pandemic: telephone support for vulnerable populations' , Australian Social Work , pp. 1-12 , doi:

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This qualitative organisational ethnography explores and analyses the ways in which a local government-provided volunteer telephone support program for vulnerable and older members of the community quickly adapted to continue working during the pandemic. Thematic analysis of data collected through researcher participation in 26 weekly zoom debrief sessions with local government staff and volunteers captures the experience of providing telephone support during a pandemic. Three key themes emerged as integral to the shaping and reshaping of the service: (1) the importance of care and relationships in service provision; (2) the need for flexibility to make service change; and (3) like a beating heart, the regular calls became part of the rhythm of life, providing certainty for staff, volunteers, and those they called. This program offers a model for best practice in low cost, low risk, place-based interventions that can increase social connection for vulnerable community members.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Venville, A and Willis, K and Adler, V and Kostecki, KC and Rollins, W
Keywords: volunteers, social isolation, pandemic, local government, telephone, support, ageing; older people, loneliness
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Social Work
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0312-407X
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 Australian Association of Social Workers

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