Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update 2020-06-29T07:23:35+00:00

Advantaged Care Advice regarding Coronavirus and Visitation Update 10

29 June 2020

Dear Advantaged Care Residents, Families and Visitors,

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease across our communities, we have reviewed our visitation protocols.

Given the low community transmission rates in New South Wales, we are working towards offering more opportunities for relatives to visit their loved ones.

We are pleased that the measures we implemented in response to COVID-19 have resulted in no cases of COVID-19 at any of our facilities. We know the past few months have been very difficult and we genuinely thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we implemented these important measures. Once again, we do ask for your patience as we begin to ease restrictions, with the aim of residents and families enjoying more time together.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) met on 21 June about the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria. The Victorian Government has identified the local government (LGAs) areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin as the current outbreaks of concern. These LGAs are all located in Melbourne.

The AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from these areas until control of community transmission has been achieved.

On 25 June 2020 Dr Kerry Chant – NSW Chief Health Officer has placed the following order on NSW Aged Care Facilities – the order is as follows:

Until further notice: – Please be advised that visitors who have travelled to Melbourne in the previous 14 days are denied entry into aged care facilities.  All visitors to the facility should be screened on entry.  Anyone with respiratory symptoms, even mild, or fever, or anyone who has visited Melbourne in the last 14 days is to be excluded from the facility.  

In our last update we advised that Advantaged Care had 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 to the current risk levels and provides a roadmap to the COVID-19 vaccination when things return to normal.

As always, 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 6 weeks and as a consequence of the improved outlook, we are adjusting our visitation restrictions and are pleased to advise we are progressing to a more liberal approach.

That said, we will continue to monitor the number of cases within each facility’s LGA and we will relax or restrict arrangements depending on the sustained improvement or any declines in local risks.

If we see COVID-19 clusters arise in suburbs surrounding our facilities we will need to respond accordingly.

If any of our facilities are near a COVID-19 cluster, and we believe that it will compromise the well-being of our residents and staff, then we may place that facility into a precautionary lockdown and restrict visitors. We will notify you as soon as any decision is made, as updates occur and as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

While we are excited to welcome back more families, we remain extremely concerned about COVID19 entering our homes. Our aim is to work together to ensure we maintain a safe environment for our residents and staff. The safest way to stay connected is by phone or through the many other technology-based options available. 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. Otherwise, we request that you only visit where you or your loved one considers it necessary

Expanded visiting arrangements from Monday 6 July 2020:

  • Only visitors who have been vaccinated against 2020 Influenza may enter our facilities.
  • Children are permitted to visit – all visitors, including children, must adhere to restrictions on visitor numbers, social distancing, influenza vaccination and personal hygiene practices
  • Each resident will be allowed to have a maximum of two visitors at any one time.
  • Visits are to be conducted within the resident’s room, outdoors, or a specified area in the facility (as decided by the Facility Manager) – no visits are to occur in communal areas with other residents such as lounge, dining, and activity areas.
  • Visitors must practise social distancing, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres. Visitors have a responsibility to supervise any children with them, practise hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and to comply with directions given by our staff.
  • Visiting hours will be expanded to:
  • 9:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday
  • 1pm to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Visitor Guidelines

When entering the facilities, the following procedures must be adhered to:

1.                    Enter via the facilities single point of entry – front door – a maximum of 2 visitors per resident at any one time
2.                    Use the hand sanitiser for 20 seconds as you enter
3.                    Report to reception and complete the revised health screening questionnaire (incorporating travel to Melbourne in the past 14 days)   including a temperature check (as per current protocol)
4.                    Provide evidence of your 2020 Influenza Vaccination (children included)
5.                    Go directly to the resident’s room or agreed alternative – if you are using the lift – please ensure that there are only 2 persons in the lift at any time.
6.                    Avoid touching any surfaces (wheel-chair / walking frame handles, overbed tables, lift buttons, etc)
7.                    Do not make physical contact with your loved one – no hugs, kisses or embraces (we know that this is incredibly difficult but it is extremely important to their safety)
8.                    Practise hand hygiene before entering and on leaving a resident’s room (wash hands, use sanitiser)
9.                    Maintain 1.5m physical distancing rules at all times from staff and other residents
10.                When your visit is finished, please leave promptly by the most direct route
11.                If you are unwell at any time after your visit, please alert the Facility Manager immediately

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 continue to 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.