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Aged Care residences – COVID-19 updates

There is a lot of work being done across our Aged Care residences to ensure we are taking all necessary precautions and putting plans in place to maintain our residents, their loved ones and our employee’s wellbeing. 

We acknowledge how important maintaining connection is to everyone's wellbeing and we are doing as much as possible to limit the disruption to usual routines for our residents, whilst enhancing their level of protection.

Please continue to monitor this site for changes to our residences.

New update: Increased site restrictions

23 March 2020

Based on feedback we have received, and the heightened community restrictions announced by both the Australian and State Governments over the weekend we will now be restricting all visitors from entering our Aged Care sites unless they have a direct connection to essential service delivery.

These restrictions will commence at 8pm on Monday 23 March and will be reviewed in two weeks’ time.

Exceptions may be made for loved ones of those residents with special needs (i.e. complex dementia) and those who are palliating.

Residents within the home will continue to live their lives as normally as possible. However, non-essential services such as cafés, hairdressers and beauticians will also close temporarily, and lifestyle activities will be revised to smaller group or one-to-one activities to allow for appropriate social distancing.

We understand this decision will be very difficult and upsetting for our residents and their loved ones. However, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the community, we need to take all possible measures to protect those who are most vulnerable.

Advice from the Australian Government

18 March 2020

On 18 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new measures for protecting our most vulnerable people. This announcement included increased site restrictions to Aged Care residences, including:

No access will be permitted to people who:

  • have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • have been in contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • are currently experiencing fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath)
  • after 1 May 2020, no access will be granted to people who have not been vaccinated this year for influenza.

Visits:

  • are limited to a maximum of two people (family members, close friends or professional service providers) visiting at one time per day for each resident
  • must be short in duration, maintaining social distancing practices (1.5 metres)
  • must be held in the resident’s room or outdoors, not in common areas.

There will also be:

  • no large gatherings or social entertainment within the residence
  • no school groups of any size allowed to visit
  • restrictions that prevent children aged 16 or under from visiting, unless exceptional circumstances apply (for example, if their loved one is palliative).

What does this mean for Australian Unity Aged Care Residences?


What do these new restrictions mean?

We request that all visitors follow our site entry procedure. This procedure has been put in place to ensure:

  • We have full visibility on who is accessing the site and when
  • We minimise the number people visiting a resident at any one time
  • Hand hygiene practices are being followed prior to entering areas where residents are present
  • Visitor contact information and declarations are completed through the ‘Tell Us About You’ forms.

What other precautions and steps are we taking? 

  • We are following the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) National Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Public Health Management of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities in Australia issued by the Commonwealth Government on 13 March 2020, following the infectious disease management protocols and taking actions to control the current situation with onsite and head office teams coordinating our planning and management
  • We have increased our cleaning schedule—each aged care residence will have completed an initial deep clean by Wednesday 25 March, including every resident room and all common areas using specialist equipment. Hospital-grade products that eliminate pathogens are being used daily in all regular cleaning including mopping, this includes using Steri7 wipes on all touchpoints such as handrails, which remains active for up to 7 days
  • Additional training on infection control for all employees has been conducted and will continue throughout this COVID-19 public health situation.
  • We are exercising social distancing practices including limiting group gatherings—cancelling group events and activities—and keeping a distance between people
  • We have ceased all non-critical contractor works on site, ceased corporate and school visits, implemented additional visitor requirements (outlined above) and limited access to a single sign-in point, with all visitors required to enter via reception
  • We continue to closely monitor government advice and are taking all actions as required.

What you can do to help us

  • Knowing the symptoms: these include fever, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat
  • Focusing on good hand hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom
  • Be vaccinated against influenza: Having the flu vaccine helps protect yourself and those around you especially those who are too sick, or too young to be vaccinated as well as other people including, people over 65 years of age and pregnant women. The flu vaccine won’t protect against COVID-19, however it may help to reduce the severity and spread of seasonal influenza, which can lower a person’s immunity and make them more susceptible to other illnesses.
  • If you are unwell, we ask that you avoid contact with others and do not visit our residence until you are better.

Resources

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