Employee Day

Hello everyone.
I hope you are all staying safe during this very challenging time, particularly those who live in the affected local government areas. The situation with the Sydney outbreak is alarming. However, be assured ATV is taking all the precautions to ensure our residents are safe and well.

Our staff are undertaking 3 day testing as required and we have not seen any positive cases. I can also report that our staff vaccination rate is very high, sitting at approximately 92% which is a fabulous result and shows our staff’s commitment to keep not only themselves, but all their contacts safe. I cannot be more proud of them all.

The individual people who make up our team of staff all have a valuable and essential role to play in caring for all our residents. We will be celebrating Aged Care Employee Day on Friday 6th August 2021 and it is a time to recognise all our staff for the difference they make to our residents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aged Care Employee Day puts these everyday heroes in the spotlight, celebrates them, and highlights the many different roles of those involved in the aged care journey. We are asking residents to write messages to staff and would like to give families the opportunity to do so too.

Please download the postcard below for you to write a personal message to staff which we will display in our staff room. Please send it with your message to info@abeltasman.org.au by  Wednesday 4th August. We hope to get as many messages as possible to show our staff how much we appreciate their role in caring for our residents.

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. We hope that we will be open for visiting as soon as it is safe to do so.

Stay safe,

Margaret Russell
General Manager

Download the postcard: Word format or PDF

17 July – Lockdown update

Hello to you all,

I hope you are staying safe and well during the lockdown. I’m sure most of you would have been watching the Premier’s press conference this morning and will now know that further dramatic restrictions are coming in to place from midnight tonight.

Given the prevalence of numbers of infections in our area of SW Sydney, I’m sure you will all be supportive of ATV taking whatever action it needs to protect our residents.  In that light, the management team has decided that we need to limit items being dropped off at ATV by resident family members.

From Monday 19th July, only essential items will be allowed to be dropped off for residents. This will mean that dropping off anything that can be provided by ATV will not be permitted. There will also be a limitation of a drop off once per week and only Monday to Friday during office hours. Items will need to be dropped off at the Admin office and they will then be fully sanitized prior to giving to residents. Essential items do not include biscuits, chocolate, takeaway food etc. These types of items will not be permitted to be left for residents.

Please note we have made this decision to also ensure family members are not placing themselves at risk of breaching the current restrictions (particularly those in relation to movement between the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool Local Government Areas). If you are in any doubt as to whether an item is allowed to be dropped off please contact our office for further information.

Thank you again for your support and collaboration in keeping our residents safe. Also be assured that we are doing our best to keep residents motivated in a challenging environment, as per our earlier post today.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

What they’re doing…

With Sydney in lock-down because of the COVID outbreak, here is a peek at what our residents are doing… 

Well… actually, life is pretty normal in the ATV ‘bubble”. While staff wear masks and observe strict protocols, residents experience an environment that is more “normal” than might be expected. Katja Jeffries manages an Activities team which doesn’t just entertain, but provides company and encourages fitness routines.

While, traditionally, resident activities were just held in the Main Hall, now the coffee shop and the media room in the new wing provide additional venues to engage residents, and special sessions are held for residents in dementia care where appropriate.

And one-on-one counselling for individual residents who can’t participate in broader activities is provided by Effie Burgoyne. Yes, we are missing our trusty band of volunteers who supplement our regular staff of Katja, Janina, Nadia & Effie.. However, for a modest size facility like Abel Tasman Village, resident activities are remarkably well resourced.

You can follow Abel Tasman Village on Facebook to connect with activities (or regularly check the Abel Tasman Village social media page for non-Facebook fans).

And as  for our residents… they’re putting COVID aside and are getting behind the Olympics!

14 July – Lockdown update

Dear ATV friends and relatives,

I wanted to let you know that the Abel Tasman Village staff have been very responsive in their uptake of the COVID vaccine. We were fortunate to be approached by the Department of Health to host a vaccination hub, which was held here at ATV for residents and staff yesterday (Tuesday 13th).

The staff came out in droves and we are happy to let you know that as at today’s date, we have 87% of our staff in residential care and 73% of staff in homecare vaccinated (either 1 or 2 doses). There are also a number of staff who already had appointments booked for a vaccination, so we are expecting that percentage to rise. We can also report that 96% of residents have been vaccinated (either 1 or 2 doses). This is a tremendous effort in the current climate and all ATV staff and residents should be congratulated.

Unfortunately, the NSW Government has extended the lockdown for another 2 weeks to 30th July. This will mean, unfortunately, that ATV will have to exclude visitors until the COVID numbers look more positive. We thank you for your patience and support in what is such a challenging time for us all.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

12 July – Lockdown update

Dear ATV friends and relatives,

The latest press conference, held by the Premier and the Chief Health Officer this morning has not brought good news. The number of people infectious in the community has risen and may rise again. Unfortunately, the majority of these are in the Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas. The Premier has been extremely clear in saying that people should not be leaving their homes.

Consequently, Abel Tasman Village will be remaining in full lockdown until NSW Health advises differently. The situation is reviewed daily by the management team, in consultation with the Board and our Infection Prevention Control Lead RN. I know that this will be distressing news for you, but we must remember that we have a duty of care to all 73 of our residents, our staff and the community in general. We do not take these decisions lightly, but the risk of COVID entering Abel Tasman Village dictates that we must follow the medical advice and NSW Health directions.

There are alternative methods of communication available as has been previously advised. We are currently reviewing this system, to ensure access to all family members. Please stay tuned for more information. Please take advantage of any of these options while visiting is not permitted. Residents are being kept busy with increased activities.

We hope to be able to bring better news in the days ahead and appreciate your support and cooperation.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

Home Care Clients

Hello to all our Home Care clients.

I hope you are all ok and coping with the lockdown in Sydney. The situation appears to be getting worse, so I wanted to check in with you all.

Please make sure you are keeping to the restrictions. It is imperative that you stay in your home and only leave for absolutely essential reasons. Please also make sure you are wearing a mask if you do go out and we would also strongly recommend you wear a mask when an ATV care worker is in your home.

ATV encourages you to receive the COVID vaccine. Please make sure, if you haven’t already done so, that you talk through your options with your doctor. It is only when the majority of the population is vaccinated that we will be able to see a reduction in COVID infections.

If you require any extra support, please don’t hesitate to contact Elizabett who will be able to organise things for you. Please stay safe and keep to the stay at home orders.

Thank you.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

Image: starline / Freepik

Image: starline / Freepik

Image: starline / Freepik

9 July – Lockdown update

Dear ATV friends and relatives,

Unfortunately the news this morning gives us real concern as our local area was mentioned in suburbs which have the COVID infection.

Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to go into full lockdown from 5pm Friday 9th July to 5pm Monday 12th July. This means NO person will be permitted through the front gates, unless their loved one is palliative. We have made this decision for a 72 hour period to assess the level of infection in our area.

We will revisit the situation on Monday and a further communication will be forthcoming. Can I please urge all family members and friends of ATV to maintain their compliance with the stay at home orders. I would also request that family members do not drop anything off at ATV for this period.

We will continue to provide limited slots for facilitated phone / video calls with residents. Please use our online booking system.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss the current situation.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

Lockdown Update

Dear ATV friends and relatives,

As you would be aware, the Premier has announced today an extension of the lockdown in the Greater Sydney area to 16th July 2021. To protect our residents, we will need to also keep to our current visitor restrictions as advised by NSW Health. Our alternative communication methods to contact your loved ones will continue during the extension of lockdown. Let’s hope that everyone does the right thing and we can come out of lockdown next week!

The Chief Health Officer specifically requested that anyone living or working in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown or Liverpool local government areas, limit their movements and strictly adhere to the stay at home orders. This means no socialising, visiting other people’s homes, or any other non essential activities. We would request that you keep to your homes unless it is imperative that you leave for essential purposes. Our staff have also been counselled that, whilst they are counted as essential workers and can come to work, they too must limit their movements going to and from work.

Please be aware we are constantly monitoring our residents for any signs of anxiety in lockdown and will contact you immediately if we feel there is an issue. If you feel that you meet the criteria for visiting on compassionate grounds, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you to families who have been in touch with us to pass on their appreciation to staff for all they are doing.


Margaret Russell,
General Manager

Staff Vaccinations

Dear ATV friends and relatives,

I wanted to communicate with you, given the events which have taken place at the SummitCare aged care facility over the weekend. 

Please be assured we have no diagnosed cases of COVID 19 amongst our staff or residents. All staff are screened very closely prior to commencing work. If any staff member has any symptoms they are not permitted to come on site and must get a COVID test and isolate until they get their result. To date, we have had a number of staff who have had COVID tests due to flu like symptoms. All tests have returned a negative result. Staff are also directed to be tested if they have visited any areas of concern, and isolate until they get a result.

In relation to staff vaccination, as you would know, the Prime Minister only announced last week, that vaccination would be mandatory for aged care staff. It was the Government’s original intention that aged care staff would be vaccinated at the same time as residents. However, lack of vaccine supply meant that staff would need to get vaccinated through their own channels. 

We have recently been advised by the Department that a vaccination clinic will be held at ATV for our staff. We have yet to be told of the date for that clinic. ATV reports the numbers of vaccinated staff through the My Aged Care portal. At this stage, 45% of our staff have either had 1 or 2 doses of vaccine. All staff must have received their first dose by mid September as mandated last week.

If you have any personal concerns, I am more than happy for you to contact me. Please be assured, as always, that our first priority is the health and safety of our residents. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

And… it’s July!

Just when you thought that everyone was focussed on vaccines, our activities department put out the usual monthly calendar of activities. Life goes on…

Please be sure to read Margaret’s message in the newsletter. Our residents might have some restrictiction in movement and visitors, but activities come together anyway!

Check out the July newsletter here.

As you know, in Sydney, Aged Care Facilities can’t admit visitors right now. Hopefully that won’t last long. Please read Margaret’s note in the newsletter and of course, you can book a phone or video call with a resident.