Adapting to maintain service provision during the coronavirus crisis
These are difficult times for everyone, and BUSHkids is no different. While our support is more important than ever to rural and remote communities, it has been necessary to adapt how we deliver our services. Our priority is always the health and safety of the children and families we serve while ensuring our staff and volunteers can remain safe when providing the support communities need.
For this reason, the Council, myself and the management team have worked hard over the last three months to develop ways to continue providing our services within the confines of physical distancing and ever-changing rules on social contact and travel. I am proud that BUSHkids has been able to continue supporting regional, rural and remote communities despite the coronavirus crisis by providing services over the phone and through our growing teleHealth capability.
TeleHealth, the provision of health care services by using technology such as videoconferencing, is an area we have been actively developing and expanding over the past few years. BUSHkids started delivering its services via teleHealth in 2016 as part of a research partnership with the University of Queensland’s Centre for Research Excellence and this project has really come into its own during the current coronavirus crisis. We are now providing individual therapy via telehealth as well as group programs such as Virtual Storytime and the PALS social skills group on the Zoom video conferencing platform.
I recently heard a heart-warming anecdote from our Kingaroy team which demonstrates the importance of providing our services virtually. Our staff had organised a PALS social skills group by Zoom, PALS is a programme designed to help three to six-year-olds to socialise and master challenging social situations. As the children linked in and the session was about to start little Craig saw his friend appear on the screen and squealed with delight “Zander, Zander I can’t believe it’s you, I’ve missed you and didn’t know when I’d see you again”. The two boys were able to excitedly catch up for a short time over Zoom before the session started. The social connection was vital for these young children who had been socially disconnected by coronavirus crisis and it’s a great demonstration of the importance of ongoing service provision for children in the early years during isolation.
We are delighted we have been able to continue our work virtually during the coronavirus crisis and that it can make such a massive difference to isolated families and kids like Craig and Zander. You can help us continue to provide our support during this difficult time; however, we appreciate that for some of our supporters this may be difficult. Any gift of $2 or more which you can give is tax deductable and will help us provide free support to families whether virtually or face to face when the coronavirus crisis is over. To make donation easier, you can give online through our website. Just go to bushkids.org.au and click on the ‘Donate’ button.
We truly appreciate your support and please accept our thanks for supporting BUSHkids.
Chief Executive Officer
 While this is a real case, personal information about this child have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.