Urgent – Latest Advice – Thursday 16/7/2020

The NSW Health department has just released new advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant PSM as follows:

The outbreak of COVID-19 continues in Victoria and an outbreak has been detected in South Western Sydney, associated with the Crossroads Hotel in Casula. It is crucial that all residential aged care facilities maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into your facility. Given the current risk of COVID-19 now in the community please implement the following measures.

  • We are required to sight a “proof of address” and phone number for all visitors.
  • Until the end of July, any visitors to any residential aged care facility who have been in the following local government areas in the previous two weeks should be excluded from the facility: Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly. Please see the list of suburbs attached.
  • All aged care staff who reside in the above South Western Sydney local government areas must wear a surgical mask while in the facility until at least the end of July.
  • Further advice will be provided should this be a required measure post the end of July.
  • Staff and visitors who have visited any of the locations linked to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Western Sydney (see updated list of venues and dates at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates) should be excluded for a period of 14 days since their visit to the listed location. It is important to regularly check the website, as this list may expand.

At this stage, we are not going into complete lock down. However, please ensure that you check the website regularly, as the situation is changing rapidly. We may have to consider lockdown of our site if things do not improve. Be assured that every measure we take is for the complete safety of our residents and staff at Abel Tasman Village.

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager

Urgent COVID-19 Update

There has been an urgent Covid-19 update from NSW Health with regards to aged care facilities in NSW. Facilities are now required to screen all staff and visitors prior to entry.

NSW Health has further stated that visitors and members of staff who may have attended the venues listed below on the dates provided should not be allowed to enter a NSW aged care facility within 14 days of having visited the venue. Under no circumstances should staff or visitors that are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 enter a NSW aged care facility.   

  • Crossroads Hotel, Casula: 3-10 July (people who attended the Crossroads Hotel during these dates are advised to immediately self-isolate until 14 days after they were last there and attend a clinic for testing even if they have no symptoms https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/20200712_01.aspx)
  • Picton Hotel: 4, 5, 9, 10 July
  • Planet Fitness, Casula: 6 – 10 July
  • Star City Casino: 4 July (8:00pm – 10:30pm)
  • Canterbury Leagues Cub: 4 July (11:00pm – 1:00am)
  • Narellan Town Centre Shopping Town (Kmart, Target, Best & Less, H&M and food court): 6 July
  • Zone Bowling, Villawood: 27 June (11:00am – 3:00pm)
  • Cook, Kurnell: 5 July (11:30am – 12:30 pm)
  • Highfield, Caringbah: 5 July (6:00pm – 9:00pm)
  • Merimbula RSL: 6 July (6:00pm – 9:00pm)  
  • Waterfront Café, Merimbula: 7 July (8:30am – 9:30am) 
  • Murray Downs Golf Club: 4-5 July

This list of venues will continue to be updated and included in the media releases issued by NSW Health. It remains essential that anyone with symptoms, even very mild symptoms, get tested and stay home until cleared.

Thank you for your continued understanding and co-operation.

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager

GM update: Food Safety Audit

On behalf of the Board, the management team, staff and residents of ATV, I am very proud to announce that we received an rating of “A” for our Food Safety audit yesterday evening.
Congratulations to Mark and his catering team for the great effort. Im sure you are all relieved and proud when you heard the news yesterday evening.

I would like to give a special acknowledgment and thanks to George and Gus from our maintenance team with their contribution to assisting Mark to get the kitchen and the servery area in the main kitchen, Camellia and Link building ready for the food audit.
Also, I want to extend that acknowledgment and thank Harry (CCM), Jeremy (SSM) and Dave (Kitchen Hand), who assisted myself and Mark with the final deep clean of the main kitchen over the past few days. The kitchen sparkled after all that hard work. 

Finally, to all the catering team, you all worked really to ensure the day went smoothly. You were observed to be calm and relax, which was a good sign of knowing that you were confident and competent in what you do in the kitchen.
It was a great team effort and I am very proud and honoured to be representing the Abel Tasman village as the General Manager. Well done team, looking forward to the next challenge.

Sophia Markwell
General Manager

COVID-19 : Visiting & Outings

Welcome to another Friday update from ATV. With low levels of local Covid-19 transmission, AHPPC recommends that: 

  • Children of all ages will be permitted to visit the Abel Tasman Village. All visitors, including children, must adhere to restrictions on visitor numbers, social distancing and personal hygiene.
  • Visiting service providers such as hairdressers, diversional therapists and allied health professionals will be permitted to enter The Abel Tasman Village when their services cannot be provided via telehealth or other adaptive models of care, and the resident cannot attend an external facility to receive these services; these providers must adhere to equivalent social distancing and hygiene practices as they have implemented in community settings.
  • Visits to a maximum of two visitors at any one time per resident.
  • Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or a specified area at Abel Tasman Village, rather than communal areas with other residents.
  • No large group visits should be permitted at this time, however gatherings of residents in communal or outdoor areas which adhere to social distancing and current jurisdictional requirements for gathering size may be permitted.
  • Visitors must practise social distancing where possible, 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 Abel Tasman Village staff.
  • Residents can be escorted on outings that include going to the:
    • The local bank
    • Medical and specialist appointments
    • Allied Health appointments.

Given the increasing numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) in particular locations of the suburbs in Victoria and the heightened risk of transmission, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions will be applied to impacted areas.

The restricted postcodes are: 3012, 3021, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3055, 3060 and 3064.

The RN on duty will ask for your driver’s licence as part of the screening process if you are a visitor from Melbourne.

Abel Tasman Village has updated the screening process to include asking the following questions:

In the past 14 days, have you been to or returned from Melbourne?

If the answer is YES, then..

In the past 14 days, have you been to or returned from COVID – 19 hotspots in Victoria?

If this answer is YES, the RN on duty may refuse your entry.

Sophia Markwell
General Manager

July Newsletter

The month of July will see the return to the Village of some activities, which for the safety of our residents had been put on hold due to COVID-19. Working within the health guidelines, we will be slowly welcoming back entertainers and volunteers to Abel Tasman and July will also see the return of Church services.

Home Care recipients are also welcome to attend the Village. I was pleased to see Mrs Gloria Short at our hair salon last week for her appointment!

Read the whole newsletter, including the agenda and birthday reports here!

COVID-19 – Masks revisited…

Welcome to the Friday COVID-19, despite the ease of restrictions in the community, the restrictions at the Abel Tasman Village still apply.

On Saturday 13 June, additional restrictions have lifted which apply to household visits and outside gatherings, funerals, as well as businesses – including the reopening of food courts, fitness centres, community centres, massage parlours and more. For the latest updates:
Read this…

In this edition you will find new PPE guidance and information on the latest cloth face mask evidence check from the NSW government website.

Efficacy of cloth face masks for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission Rapid review questions Do cloth face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19? In brief:

  • Face masks are used to protect wearers from infection and to prevent the spread from people with COVID-19, particularly those who are pre-symptomatic.
  • The World Health Organisation on 5 June 2020 updated its guidance advising that to prevent COVID-19 transmission effectively in areas of community transmission, governments should encourage the public to wear masks
  • A systematic review in healthcare and non-healthcare settings showed that face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection, with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar.
  • A pre peer review rapid systematic review of three randomised controlled trials showed that wearing a face mask may slightly reduce the odds of developing respiratory symptoms by 6%.
  • In the same review, the protective effect was very small if only one person, the infected person or well person wore the mask, however this was based on very low-quality evidence.
  • A review reflecting on influenza epidemics found some efficacy of masks if worn by those with respiratory systems but not if worn by asymptomatic individuals.
  • There are concerns masks are associated with over-estimation of the extent of protection afforded and non-compliance with other effective measures, such as hand washing, social distancing, and home isolation.
  • Evidence from health care settings suggest cloth masks can be a source of infection.
  • Recommendations on face mask use in community settings varies by country, some experts support their use based on the precautionary principle

Kind regards,

Sophia Markwell

June Newsletter

Celebrations, Food Safety and COVID Protection, all in one picture.

Here is a copy of our June newsletter (download it here).
It incorporates Sophia’s weekly message, Home Care news , our activities programme and a look back to in pictures to last month’s activities.

May proved to be another busy month at Abel Tasman. Katja and her team have worked very hard in ensuring that recreational Activities continue to be carried out with the least amount of possible disruption.

Good to see news and photos from the team which provides our Home Care Program, including a couple of personal histories!

Sophia’s message in the newsletter covers recommendations regarding our food safety programme, particularly concerning “brought-in” food, as well as some important reminders regarding Village entry and exit. Please have read.

PS. Did you see the item on food tasting on our Facebook page? PDF here.

COVID-19 update #15

Australia's symbol for mental health awareness
The Flanel Flower – Australia’s symbol for mental health awareness.

This update again reminds staff, friends and family to stay at home if they are unwell. As well as the importance of screening staff and visitors entering aged care facilities, I wanted to add the need to look after our mental health & wellbeing during these difficult times. We’ll finish up this update with a link to some useful information.

Reminder – Stay at Home if You Are Unwell
Even if you are only mildly unwell… It is the best thing we can do for the vulnerable people we care for. And if you have any symptoms at all of COVID-19, get tested and self-isolate until you get your negative result.

Please check this link to help identify the symptoms.

Mental Health
We are in uncharted territory, the coronavirus outbreak and practising self-isolation can be stressful and impact our mental health and wellbeing. It is natural to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood. Many people feel distressed by the constant news and overwhelming amount of information about the situation. 
Here are some steps to maintaining good mental health as per the Mental Health Foundation Australia:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

  • Set up a daily routine. Plan activities that are fun (such as reading, watching movies, hobbies) and that give you a sense of achievement (such as cleaning, completing work tasks, learning a new skill).
  • Stay active—create an exercise routine that can be completed at home, to maintain physical fitness and reduce stress.
  • Eat well—plan and eat a variety of nutritious meals.
  • Stay connected with friends and family via phone, chat, email, or video conferencing

Stay informed

  • Getting information from trusted source can help you determine reasonable precautions to take to maintain your health. E.g. health.gov.au or nsw.gov.au

Stay positive

  • This is unpleasant, but it will pass.
  • What you say to yourself is important. Listen to the things you are saying to yourself and change negative comments to be more helpful and realistic.

Access support

  • if you’re feeling overwhelmed, access support, via your local community, area health service, or from your local GP.

On a final note
The national palliative care week is from the 24th May to 30th May. Check out the Palliative Care Website – it is great resource for all of us in the understanding of advance care planning and the palliative processes.

Take Care,
Sophia Markwell
General Manager

COVID-19 update #14

I hope everyone is staying safe and well, and the downward trend in COVID-19 related cases continues in Australia. Thank you again for your ongoing assistance in helping us achieve this.

As mentioned in last week’s update, the “Industry Code for visiting residential Aged Care homes during COVID-19” has been released by 13 Aged Care Peak Bodies and consumer advocacy organisations on the 11th May 2020. The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

View / download Industry Code

We have had a high compliance rate by our visitors, staff and approved contractors. Again, thank you all. We will be extending our current screening process to all visitors to include temperature checks from the Registered Nurse on arrival from Monday 18th May 2020. They will meet you at the front gate on arrival to check the following:

  • Temperature reading of all visitors and contractors
  •  Confirmation of flu vaccination certificate
  • Declaration of health on day of visit.

As you may be aware, NSW government will be continuing to ease COVID-19 restrictions in sections of the community from this Friday 15h May. This is then a particularly important time for us all to continue to be vigilant regarding our residents’ health and wellbeing at the Abel Tasman Village. As we mix with more people in the general community, we can in turn put our vulnerable residents at risk.

Please ensure you continue to strictly adhere to all social distancing, hand-washing and sanitization guidelines set by NSW Government.
Stay healthy and well.

Sophia Markwell
General Manager

COVID-19 update #13

I would like to again thank you for all your co-operation in providing us with a copy of your flu vaccine certificate. I apologise for any inconvenience caused in the last week and again thank you going forward .

While the current trends in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are broadly reassuring across Australia, there are still very serious risks for our older Australians. This means we must not relax our current vigilance and become complacent. 

This is particularly true when it comes to the current restrictions relating to visitors to aged care facilities. We are following advice from the Chief Clinical Advisor who recently wrote to providers of residential aged care services recommending the screening for all staff and visitors on entry to the facility. This advice centres on the ongoing safety and wellbeing of our residents at the Abel Tasman Village.

A draft version of the Aged Care Visitor Access code was released by COTA (Council of the Aging) and will by finalised by the 11th May 2020. This document is to ensure a nationally consistent visitation policy to residential aged care homes during the COVID-19 crisis and has been released by aged care peaks bodies and consumer advocacy organisations for consultation with the public.

Myself and Harry Wu (Clinical Manager) have reviewed this document and are happy to confirm that we have been putting measures in place as per the Government’s recommendations since March 2020 to ensure that we find the right balance between protecting our residents from COVID-19 and providing them with vital social connections and support from loved ones.

As a result of the Aged Care Visitor Access Code review, inclusive of the screening process on arrival, we will be checking your temperature prior to you entering the facility. A quick note regarding the flu vaccine requirements: I understand that some people may have a medical condition that may prevent them from receiving a shot. Unfortunately, unless you have Guilla-Barre syndrome or an auto-immune syndrome documented, in addition, we will require a medical certificate from your GP or a specialist to indicate that you have fatal adverse effect if you were to receive the flu vaccine. We appreciate your understanding in helping us keep our residents and staff as safe and health.

And of course Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager.