Visiting and Outings

Hello to you all,

Well, it’s been over a week since we opened up and it’s been great to see visitors coming through the gates to visit their loved ones. Just a reminder of the requirements for visiting – you must have a booking, have been double vaccinated (with the 2nd dose being administered a minimum of 14 days prior), and provide a negative COVID result on entry (testing must be done maximum 72 hours before visiting). Please note that you will receive a confirming email of your booking day and time. If you need to change your appointment you can do so through that email. Please schedule your appointments carefully to avoid last minute changes and cancellations.

We have had a few questions regarding residents attending family gatherings. The NSW Health directions on this are quite clear. There are specific requirements for unvaccinated residents leaving the facility (please speak with the Care Manager or myself for further information).

Vaccinated residents are permitted to leave the facility and attend family gatherings but must abide by the current Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 (the Order). Abel Tasman Village has developed a framework in relation to the requirements for residents attending outside events.

Residents in areas that are not under stay at home orders, are permitted to leave Abel Tasman Village to attend external appointments and small family gatherings but must abide by the Public Health Orders.

It is strongly recommended that all people attending any gathering are fully vaccinated.
You must ensure no one at the event:

  • has, in the past 14 days, been to any NSW, Interstate or New Zealand locations at the dates and times listed in the latest COVID-19 case locations
  • have been in a stay at home area in the last 14 days
  • has been a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • lives in a household with a person who is currently self-isolating
  • is waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Residents must not go into an area that is currently under a stay at home order.

Residents must wear masks on the outing and practice hand hygiene and social distancing.

All residents (or their representatives) going on social leave or external appointments must advise Abel Tasman Village in plenty of time. There will be a system available from early next week for family members to communicate outings information. Residents may be subject to monitoring, testing or quarantine upon return to the Village depending upon the length of absence and area visited.

If you are visiting a venue that requires evidence of COVID-19 vaccination, you will need to organise this for your loved one. We are unable to access residents’ Medicare records to produce this for you.

We ask you to be very mindful when attending gatherings with residents. Families and staff have all worked very hard over the last 18 months to limit our residents’ and staff exposure to COVID-19. For the next few weeks there will be a lot of uncertainty with case numbers, lockdown requirements in aged care and hospital capacity. So, now the onus is on you to do the right thing when arranging gatherings with residents. For all our residents’ and staff safety, we ask you to be very cautious.

In relation to PCR COVID 19 testing, Abel Tasman Village will be continuing to require visitors to provide a negative COVID result upon entry to the Village. This requirement is also still in place for staff and contractors. This may be reviewed at some time in the future.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding regarding the visiting protocols. We have been heartened by some of the lovely comments and encouragement we have received.

Regards

Margaret Russell
General Manager

Visit a Resident!

Hello to you all. Well, the day is almost here! No doubt you are as relieved as we are to be seeing some opening up throughout NSW. The residents are thrilled to be able to see you very soon.

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their vaccination certificates. Unfortunately, if we have not received your vaccination certificate and you cannot provide evidence of double dose vaccination at the time of your visit, you will be unable to visit. Please note that you must have received your second dose at least 14 days prior to visiting. We would suggest that you carry with you either an electronic or paper copy of your vaccination certificate.

As I advised previously, we must take a cautious approach to the opening up for visiting. There is still COVID in the local community so we must be ever vigilant.

But on to more exciting matters. Visiting will recommence from 2pm on Monday 11th October 2021. There are clear directions from NSW Health in relation to visiting. As from Monday, 2 visitors per resident per day may visit. As we have done previously, there will be a booking system up on the website here to enable booking for visits and calls. If possible, please communicate with all family members to ensure fair and equitable allocation of visiting times.

There is a robust framework around the visiting instructions to ensure resident and staff safety:

  • You must be fully vaccinated (2nd dose at least 14 days prior to visiting) and have provided your vaccination certificate prior to visiting
  • 2 visitors per resident per day are permitted to visit (under 12s are not currently permitted to visit)
  • Visits are available 7 days per week from 10am to 5pm (visitors must leave the site by 5pm)
  • There is no time limit on how long you can visit but you must arrive at your allotted time and leave by 5pm
  • Masks must be worn by visitors at all times, unless eating and drinking
  • Visits must take place within the resident’s room or in the garden areas
  • Visitors must not enter any other communal area within the Village (this includes the coffee shop, the dining room, the physio room, the hairdressing salon and the nurse stations)
  • Visitors must check in on the QR codes at the entry gate and sign in via the electronic register by the front letterbox
  • Visitors must produce evidence of a COVID test within 72 hours of visiting and exhibit a negative result
  • We would appreciate visitors do not congregate at any place in the Village, particularly at the front gate
  • Visitors must demonstrate social distancing at all times

We have developed a Post Stay at Home Visiting Policy which is available on the website. Please ensure you read the policy carefully as it contains further information in relation to residents leaving the village and particularly arrangements for unvaccinated residents.

We appreciate how difficult the last few months have been and we thank you all for your patience. This is our first step into a ‘living with COVID’ world so please be mindful that staff are also trying to keep up with weekly changes to advice from NSW Health. Changes to our policy may occur as advice is amended by the Chief Health Officer and we will communicate any changes to you in a timely manner, just as we have done throughout the lockdown.

We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Warm regards,

Margaret Russell
General Manager

Opening News

Hello to you all.

We have been getting a number of enquiries regarding visiting. As communicated last week, we are currently waiting for the NSW Health detailed information regarding the requirements for visiting. We will be sending out an update by the end of the week to let you all know the framework for visiting from Monday 11th October.

We have received a small number of COVID vaccination certificates from people wanting to visit. However, please note that you will be unable to visit on Monday unless you have provided COVID vaccination proof (double dosed) by 5pm Friday 8th October. Please note there may be a requirement for you to have received your final dose over 14 days prior to visiting. However, we are waiting on clarification regarding this. There may also be a requirement for a negative COVID test result.

You may provide proof by submitting an immunization certificate from your doctor or by giving us a copy of the digital certificate available via Medicare. You can also contact the Australian Immunisation Register and request a copy of your COVID vaccination certificate (please note that this may take up to 10 business days to arrive). We will be ensuring all records are kept secure and in compliance with privacy legislation.

We will be in touch on Friday regarding the system for visiting.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

Margaret Russell
General Manager

Opening Soon!

Hello to you all.

What great news we heard yesterday when the Premier announced that visits to aged care facilities will be able to commence from 11th October 2021!

We are currently awaiting the Chief Health Officer official advice and we will then formalize our plan for what visiting will look like from 11th October 2021. At this stage, we are aware that 2 visitors per resident will be permitted. All visitors must be fully vaccinated. For this reason, NSW Health is still working on how under 12s will be able to visit in a COVID safe way. Until that time, under 12s will unfortunately not be able to visit. We will of course be using an abundance of caution in the way we open up for visiting.

If you are wishing to visit, you must send us your vaccination certificate indicating that you have been fully vaccinated with two doses. Please forward your certificate to office.mgr@abeltasman.com.au as soon as possible.

We will be in touch next week to advise the arrangements for visiting. We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Margaret Russell
General Manager

17th September – Lockdown update

Hello to everyone from all of us at ATV,

Great to get some warmer weather to enjoy being outside, even though we are in lockdown.

Just an update for you all regarding the delivery driver incident. Our staff member has continued to test negative and has now passed the 14 days isolation required. The staff member will return to work next week and will continue to be tested regularly as per our current protocols.

I do need to advise that a nursing home staff member has tested positive to COVID 19. However, we have had confirmation from the Public Health Unit that this person was not infectious at the time they worked in the facility and ATV is therefore in the clear. The staff member has been in isolation since 7th September and tested negative up until yesterday, 16th September, when she tested positive. We are thankful that our screening processes and COVID management plans are robust and are protecting our residents.

I am available to discuss anything you are concerned about so please do not hesitate to contact me. Please be assured we continue to place the health and safety of our residents as our number one priority.

Margaret Russell
General Manager

10th September – Lockdown update

Hello to you all.

Just a quick update on the situation I reported to you earlier this week, where a staff member was exposed to a delivery driver who subsequently tested positive to COVID 19. Our staff member continues to test negative, which is very good news. The isolation period will finish mid next week. This incident highlights just how easy it can be to be exposed to the virus, even when doing the most simple activities. We are truly thankful that on this occasion we seem to be in the clear. However, we must remain vigilant and keep to our robust processes which are serving us well.

The announcement by the Premier yesterday gives us some hope of considering arrangements for visiting once vaccination rates hit a certain level. The management team is working on a plan regarding a visiting schedule for when we hit the magic number. 

I can now report that 100% of staff have received a vaccination (95% have been fully vaccinated). This is a great result and well ahead of the deadline for residential aged care workers of 17th September. We must give a huge vote of thanks to the staff for rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated to not only protect themselves, but also their community and of course our precious residents.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information or just to have a chat.
Stay safe everyone.

Best wishes,

Margaret Russell
General Manager

7th September – Lockdown update

Hello to you all.

In the interest of transparency, I wanted to let you know the following:

We have been advised that a delivery driver to ATV on Monday 30th August has tested positive to COVID 19. The delivery was to the kitchen very early in the morning. ATV has COVID safe delivery protocols in place and we do not anticipate any issue.

However, a staff member in the kitchen has been identified as a close contact and is now in isolation. Please note that the staff member has tested negative on all occasions and we will continue to follow the NSW Health advice.

If there is anything further for us to let you know we will immediately be in contact. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

3 September – Lockdown update

Hello to everyone

The warmer weather has brought some cheer to our residents, but of course the real celebration of opening for visiting seems to be out of our reach at the moment. The NSW Health advice still directs us to exclude visitors at this time. Please note that Abel Tasman Village is involved in discussions with our peak body and Government authorities weekly and as soon as we have any update we will communicate it immediately. Our residents are managing well and keeping busy with activities. If any resident shows any signs of emotional stress or anxiety we will of course contact family.

NSW Health has imposed a new public health order which requires all authorised workers who live in LGAs of concern to have received a first dose of vaccine by Monday 6th September. Our rate of immunisation for our staff is excellent and we will be totally compliant with this new requirement.

In anticipation of opening up for visiting, it would be useful for us to have a record of your vaccination status. If you have been vaccinated, please send through to us your immunization record or Digital COVID certificate (please send to the office on office.mgr@abeltasman.com.au).

You may have read in the most recent newsletter that Abel Tasman Village has achieved an A rating in the Food Authority Audit. Congratulations to Mark and his team on this great result.

As some of you may know, Janina recently retired. A great loss to ATV and when lockdown is over we will be inviting her back for a formal farewell. We have a new lifestyle officer commencing in mid October. An exciting addition to the team!

A number of families currently use the alternative methods of communication we have available. Please contact us if we can further assist you in this regard.

We hope you are all staying well and safe in these difficult times. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

13 August – Update

Hello to everyone,

I hope you are all staying safe and well. Of course, the 11am briefing today did not bring us the miracle we are all hoping for. Given our location in Chester Hill, I’m sure you can appreciate that we are right in the middle of the COVID hotstpot of Canterbury-Bankstown. We absolutely acknowledge the toll that the current restrictions are having on family members. I can reassure you that if we notice your loved one showing any signs of emotional distress, we will be contacting you immediately.

Unfortunately, the restrictions on visiting will need to be in place for some time longer. I am giving you a link to the NSW Health advice to residential aged care facilities:  https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/racf-latest-advice.aspx.
The situation is changing every day and we will not stay closed for visiting for any moment longer than we are directed to. Please note in the advice the link to the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes During COVID 19. I can also give you the number for the Seniors Rights Service 1800 700 600. If you feel that you would like to talk to them to advocate on your behalf, please feel free to call them. They are very helpful.

In the meantime, I can report that our vaccination rate is excellent – well over 93% for staff and residents. At the current time, there are 13 nursing homes with COVID outbreaks. Our hearts go out to the residents and staff of those homes. It is numbers like this that reinforce the difficult decisions we have to make in relation to visitation. The last thing we want is a COVID case at ATV.

Can I pass on our thanks to those families who have sent messages of support to us during this difficult time. The staff, management and Board of ATV are very appreciative.

Please take care of yourselves. We here at ATV are keeping a smile on our faces and hoping we can see you all again soon.

Margaret Russell,
General Manager

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