Although COVID-19 has changed the way people in Latrobe interact with and access services, communities continue to look for understanding and empathy. There is a need to achieve an appropriate balance of responding to COVID-19 and redesigning the way services are delivered without losing sight of the patient and community experience.
When people in Latrobe are trying to establish a trusted relationship with a new doctor, they are looking for someone who will listen to them and demonstrate a willingness to understand their needs.
Members of the public and staff within services have been overwhelmed with information about COVID-19 and how to access services. People have described being bombarded with information that sometimes comes from multiple sources at the same time. At other times information appears to be contradictory or does not seem relevant to Latrobe or other regional communities.
It has been hard for carers and relatives wanting to visit someone in the hospital, access a service or provide patient feedback during COVID-19, particularly when the restrictions have not been designed for every circumstance.
People have said that they are understanding of the need for protocols but find the way some rules are applied and communicated can at times seem unnecessary or lacking in empathy. People have shared their ideas and aspirations for patient liaison personnel in health services who are skilled at listening and negotiating.
People in the community have identified professional language barriers between health services and members of the public and have expressed concerns about some of the experiences they have had.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have shared their concerns for people in their community who don’t access health services. They have shared their aspirations for more understanding and awareness within society of Aboriginal culture and history and want to see this reflected in local health services. Someone has put forward the idea of a Koori section at the hospital to help people heal before they are discharged.