On 7 April 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, the ADRI Mesothelioma Support Coordinators invited the Director of ADRI, Ken Takahashi to be a guest at the teleconference meeting in order to understand the concerns of our patients. All participants gave verbal approval for this and Ken wished them well in these uncertain times.
Despite the expectation of a low turnout, ten eager clients participated. Among them were mesothelioma patients (two were post-EPP), bereaved family members and carers. Whilst most were from the Sydney basin, one was from rural NSW and two from Queensland.
A lively discussion went on for over an hour from which two main topics drew considerable interest.
- People are trying to “keep active” to deal with social isolation. Some considered that appointments with doctors and physiotherapists provided good opportunities to break the isolation which unfortunately has become the recent norm. Exercise such as walking dogs seemed a favourite method and many agreed that interacting with pets is helpful in coping with the situation. To this, the coordinator made the prudent advice that “(doing) something is better than nothing” but also that “tailoring to individual circumstances is important.”
- Regarding masks, the issue as to whether the general public need to wear masks to prevent infection was raised along with determining the effectiveness of specific types of masks. The overall sentiment was that patients and carers might want to wear masks, but not everyone was able to obtain them. In response, helpful advice was shared on where to obtain the patterns to make cloth masks. In fact, the coordinators have been making masks to share with their clients. It was noted that the official advice on the use of masks may change and as the “the jury is still out” the coordinators promised to explore the issue in more depth and report back to the group.
Though less than optimal, teleconference proved to be an effective means to maintain the precious connection between the coordinators and clients.
Click here for more information on our ADRI Mesothelioma Support Coordinators: Jocelyn McLean and Pam Logan.