A Social Work Approach to Knowledge Sharing During Times of Crisis


  • Dr Belinda Cash School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Charles Sturt University , PO Box 789, Albury NSW 2640
  • Robin Harvey School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Charles Sturt University


Ageing, Education, Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing, Crisis


The coronavirus pandemic entered Australia as the country was emerging from many months

of catastrophic bushfires throughout the summer of 2019-2020. The unprecedented and rapidly

evolving nature of these disasters highlighted the need for timely, evidence-based knowledge

to support individuals and organisations responding to new, complex, and changing situations

in the absence of established research, evidence, and resources. Social workers are uniquely

equipped with knowledge and skills that enable us to understand and respond to diverse social,

emotional, and systemic variables within a wide range of environments.

This paper presents the reflection of two Australian social work academics who responded to a

call for knowledge to support work with older adults during the first months of the COVID-19

pandemic. This innovation drew on key social work principles as we challenged ageist discourses

and equipped practitioners with resources to respond to identified risks emerging from the

increased social isolation of older adults due to public health requirements. This reflection

explores the process of responding to the perceived need for information and guidance and

suggests a practice model for rapidly disseminating knowledge in a climate of change.