18 October, 2020
Ear Bus community day
COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone and the Hear Our Hearts Ear Bus is no exception. As a result they're running community days to ensure regional children don't go without ear care.
The Hear Our Hearts (HOH) Ear Bus returned to Gilgandra last week for their newly implemented community days. Normally the bus would be able to visit all the schools in town, but because of COVID a new approach has had to be taken said program manager Virginia Redenbach.
“We couldn’t actually go to every school that we normally visit, they all had their individual rulings on whether we could go in. So, we couldn’t go into Gilgandra Public School so that blew out their reviews, so we tried to do a community day to catch some of those children,” said Mrs Redenbach.
The project manager said that HOH may not have been able to do the community day at all had it not been for the help of the Gilgandra Country Women’s Association.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generosity of the Gilgandra Country Women’s Asso-ciation letting us use this space free of charge. This is another community partnership that we’re developing for the benefit of the communities we service.”
With the pandemic blowing out wait times for specialist appointments Mrs Redenbach said the Ear Bus had been forced to play catch up to ensure children were prepared when appointments come around.
“We’ve been playing catch-up after all the COVID restrictions and ENT appointment wait times have blown out greater than 365 days.
“It’s about a 14-month wait list for grommets. So, we’re trying to make sure we keep these children on review so that if we are able to catch up, they’re ready to go,” she said.
According to Mrs Redenbach one thing that has made the whole process much easier has been the new permanent audiologist, Hope Chan.
“The new audiologist is an absolute asset, she’s settling in wonderfully. Hope brought hope."
“We don’t have to rely on fly-in-fly-out audiologists now, it’s much more consistent. The children are being seen by the same person, so it’s got that real domino effect there’s consistency and it’s routine.”