Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update 2020-05-24T22:36:37+00:00

Advantaged Care Covid 19 / Coronavirus Information Update 9

15 May 2020

Dear Advantaged Care Residents, Families and Visitors,

It is pleasing to see the Covid 19 accumulative cases curve both within Australia and NSW has flattened and subsequently both the Federal and State governments are beginning to relax restrictions they have placed on the community.

The flattening of the curve is very beneficial to the community at large, and means that it is unlikely at this point in time our health system will be overwhelmed, and will be able cope with caseloads as they progress until a vaccine is available.

Unfortunately however, we have seen the devastating effects that Covid 19 can have on an aged care facility, both abroad and in Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Newmarch House in Sydney.

We envisage that in aged care, we will be living in a heightened risk environment for some time.

As you may be aware visitation to aged care facilities has been a hotly discussed issue since the Prime Minister made comments in relation to this at one of his briefings. We recently wrote to you regarding this in our last update.

We thank you for the many letters of support of the management of our facilities during this period.

On Tuesday this week, an Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during Covid 19 was issued. The Code has been prepared by industry key stakeholders including Aged Care Consumer Organisation’s and Aged Care Provider Peak Bodies and has the general support of the industry.

A copy of the Code is available from the following link http://agedservices.asn.au/or available upon request from the facility’s administration team.

In the meantime, Advantaged Care has been working on a 5-phase risk framework to respond to risks throughout this extended period until a vaccine is available.

The risk framework assesses Covid 19 cases and risks for each of our facilities’ Local Government Areas (“LGAs”). We have been reviewing this data regularly to ensure we are aware of the local risk issues that may potentially impact any of our facilities.

This framework includes varying levels of visitor restrictions in response the current risk levels and provides a roadmap to the Covid 19 vaccination when things return to normal.

The health, safety and wellbeing of the residents in our facilities remains our first priority.

From our analysis of the Covid 19 cases within the LGA of our facilities, we have noted the rapid and significant decline in Covid 19 cases within each facility’s LGA over the last 3 or 4 weeks. As a consequence of the improved outlook, we are adjusting our visitation restrictions and pleased to advise we are progressing straight to Phase 2.

Going forward we will continue to monitor the number of cases within each LGA and we will relax or restrict arrangements depending on the sustained improvement or any declines in local risks.

As part of our visitation arrangements, we still strongly encourage you as a first port of call to continue to practice low risk interaction methods where possible being virtual visits via FaceTime or Skype as well visits through glass windows or courtyard visits (using the mobile phone to communicate). These will continue to be pre-booked, through the reception office at each facility, as it allows the care staff to plan to be available to assist with the low risk visits. The delivery of care packages will also continue within each facility.

Phase 2 arrangements for all residents for general visiting will be as per the following:

  • Each resident will be allowed to have a visit of 2 people for 30 minutes each week or 2 visits of only 1 person for 30 minutes per week (a total of one-hour face to face visits per week)
  • Be between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

These adjusted visitation arrangements will commence from Monday 18 May 2020.

For all visits to residents within the building, the following procedures will need to be followed:

Pre-requisites to Visitation

  • All visits are to be pre booked through each facility’s administration team
  • Written evidence of flu vaccination will be required
  • Satisfactorily pass the Visitors Risk questionnaire (as per current protocol)
  • Have their temperature checked and not have an elevated temperature (as per current protocol)
  • No children (under 16 years) will be allowed
  • Strongly encourage downloading of Covid-safe app to your mobile phone to mitigate risk to residents

Requirements during Visit

  • All visitors will be given a mask to wear
  • Must practice hand hygiene upon entry (directed to a hand basin and hands washed for 30 seconds)
  • Social distancing must be maintained (1.5 metres)
  • Visits must take place in the designated visitor’s area or within the resident’s bedroom (as decided by the facility manager) and care is to be taken not to stay within the resident communal areas such as the dining and lounge rooms.

Additional visits will be approved for exceptional circumstances which relate to end of life palliation and wellness visits. All current arrangements that have been approved by the Facility Manager in regards to exceptional circumstances will continue. All new exceptional circumstance requirements will need to be approved by the Facility Manager.

By introducing these visiting arrangements, the organisation hopes for a smooth transition to the next phase of our Covid 19 Phased Plan.

If you have any questions or seek clarifications to these arrangements please do not hesitate to contact the facility manager.

Advantaged Care will continue to make decisions regarding the management of the Covid 19 risks based on current medical advice, the number of active cases within the facility’s local catchment, and at all times, to seek to balance the potential risk of infection with the quality of life for each of the residents in our care.

We thank you for your support and understanding and please stay safe.

For more information see:

 https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/default.aspx

Indicated below are other key sources of current information regarding Covid 19. For the latest advice, information and resources regarding coronavirus (Covid 19), go to

www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

or

www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

For the latest world-wide information is available at the World Health Organisation website go to:
www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Alternatively, for further information you could call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

The phone number of NSW state public health agency is 1300 066 055.