Deepak Sahu is a disability support worker in OC Connections’ Community Living, providing support to residents in one of our Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) homes.
He supports Erica, Greg, Vlada, David and Carolyn at home and in their daily routine, access day programs and provide individual supports. Deepak loves the flexibility that working in supported accommodation provides: “it’s not just a 9-5 job; each day is different. I might do sleepovers, or other times I’m driving participants to their appointments,” he says.
In the early days of the pandemic, Deepak was impacted significantly. After only a few months of employment with OC Connections, he returned home to India to visit his family. With border closures and international travel stopped, Deepak was sidelined in India for almost a year.
Despite the uncertainty as to when he would return, Deepak was relieved to be reassured by OC Connections that his position would be kept open and that he would be given support and information to enable him to receive any pandemic funding and employee entitlements available to him.
“I was relieved to know that on my return I had a job to go back to,” says Deepak. “OC Connections has always been a pleasant experience for me, but after the support I received, I felt proud and privileged to be a part of the OCC community.”
Deepak has now been on-site supporting the small group of residents in Clayton for 18 months and loves every minute of his job. On his return, he was faced with new challenges: supporting participants through a second year of Melbourne lockdowns, and navigating the changing care directives and infection control procedures.
“These were challenges, but I was supported and trained by my Team Leader, Rob Easy, who was always responsive. I also appreciate the way OC Connections have worked and kept infection control bubbles which, as a staff member, allow you to get used to one kind of setting, where you know what to do and how to support participants in this safe environment.” says Deepak.
Deepak also acknowledges the resilience of residents during lockdowns, which was made easier with the in-home daily support provided by OC Connections. “No one likes to stay inside, but the residents understood it needed to be done to remain safe. The in-home support provided by OC Connections kept people active and engaged and participants felt like they were doing something.”
Despite the challenges these last few years have brought, Deepak has a very positive attitude: “COVID has made all of us more caring towards each other and show our community spirit,” he says.
“I also appreciate the team that supported me while I was stuck in India and then on my return. Whatever I went through, I only had positives in my mind, which was helped by the generosity of the OCC team.”
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