The Donegal branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association has set up an emergency response team to continue to reach people with disabilities who may become sick with the coronavirus and isolated.
The new emergency response team will act as a third layer of support following family and the HSE if a service user has to go into self-isolation.
Meanwhile, frontline workers are continuing to deliver vital services to people with physical disabilities in homes in Donegal throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Mary McGrena, Service Coordinator, Donegal, said: “This is a very worrying time for people who use our services and are dependent on our assistance to allow them to remain living safely in their own homes. Many of them are aware that due to their disability they are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Members of our community outreach and assisted living teams are among the many heroic frontline healthcare staff who are courageously committed to reaching the most vulnerable during this very difficult time.
“Our assisted living workers are visiting people’s homes, helping them to live independently and to carry out vital everyday tasks such as personal care, cooking and household chores.
“Our outreach team is providing social support such as shopping, collecting prescriptions, providing transport to banks & post offices, helping people to pay online bills and assisting people to apply for welfare payments as well as calling for a chat both in person and on the phone.”
Other activities that would usually take place in community centres are being brought to people’s homes, such as arts and crafts. The organisation is developing an online physical and mental wellness package for people to access as the crisis takes hold.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Irish Wheelchair Association has been forced to postpone its nationwide fundraising activities and close its network of charity shops. Like many organisations and businesses it has regrettably had to lay off valued staff members temporarily, who have contributed greatly to building its services to where they are today.
“Each year Irish Wheelchair Association needs to raise €2million over and above our HSE funding to keep our vital services running,” said Mary McGrena “We are aware that it is a difficult time for everyone and we’re asking people to make a donation to support our frontline workers, if they can afford to.”