Settling into a routine

I’ve been heartened by the support which we’ve received over the past week from friends and relatives of our Abel Tasman residents. It makes a difference! And of course, especially today when we’re celebrating Aged Care Employee Day!

Unfortunately, our lockdown continues and will again be reviewed in one week’s time, on 14th August. While staff have settled in their COVID routines of temperature testing and masks, we’re very much aware of the missing link for many in our care: regular communication.

To help solve this, from this Monday ( 9th August ), friends and relatives can book a call with residents at Abel Tasman village. Whether it’s a simple phonecall or a connection via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Facebook Messenger. One of our staff will be ready to facilitate the call at the appointed time.

You can book calls online here:  ( the “call a resident” link is also on the News page of our website )

I appreciate that, for many of us, this is an anxious time. Rest assured that we understand and are doing our very best for those in our care, as well as their friends and relatives.


Sophia Markwell
General Manager

Temporary Lock-down

We have today received notification from NSW Health, that another 6 local government areas have been added to the list of areas excluded from visiting aged care homes, if visitors have been in those areas in the last 14 days. This means a further 150 suburbs would need to be included in our screening processes. Clearly, it has become apparent that we at Abel Tasman Village cannot guarantee compliance with this instruction from NSW Health, given that the areas now stipulated amount to over 300 suburbs and other specific hotspot locations. We are also concerned that, given that the Canterbury Bankstown LGA of which we form part, we now appear surrounded by excluded areas.

It is therefore with tremendous regret, that from 5pm on Friday 31st July, the Abel Tasman Village will be temporarily closed to visitors, to be reviewed on Friday 7th August. This advice is also being sent to first contacts of our residents. Please pass this information on to other family members and friends as soon as possible.

This is a decision the management team and Board have made with a heavy heart. We have been extremely proud that ATV has remained open to our residents’ families at a most difficult time. However, as you can all appreciate, our first duty is to our residents, staff, family members, and their safety. Please be assured that residents within the Village will have the freedom to move about as they have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic.

We are currently reviewing our existing communication methods such as Zoom and FaceTime, with the intention to open other forms of communication. There will be separate advice to you regarding this by COB Friday 31st July.

We understand that this is a very difficult and anxious time and are available to discuss any concerns with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me on (02) 9645 3388 or email In my absence, please contact Harry, Clinical Care Manager, or the Registered Nurse on duty.

Sophia Markwell
General Manager

Keeping us COVID-SAFE

In this edition of our COVID-19 updates, I want to acknowledge and answer some of your questions about Abel Tasman Village’s efforts to keep residents and staff safe in the face of a 2nd wave of the CORONA virus. Here are some of the protocols we have implemented:

  • All staff, volunteers, allied health visitors and contractors undergo a screening process every shift, every day. 

  • All staff have given declarations to ATV management if they work elsewhere, including workplaces other than Aged Care, such as cafés and hotels. 

  • If staff are unwell, they have been advised to not come to work even if it is just a tickle in their throat. 

  • Staff who call in sick or present with symptoms, are screened by the Registered Nurse. Depending on their symptoms, they will be advised to undergo a COVID-19 test and will only be able to return to work if the result is negative and when they show no other symptoms. 

  • As you will already be aware, all staff and visitors must wear a mask, this is mandatory until further notice. I can reassure you that Harry and myself are ensuring masks and other vital equipment are well stocked in preparation for any eventuality. 

  • Abel Tasman Village receives regular updates and communications from the Department of Health and the Aged & Community Service Australia, regarding COVID-19 as well as advice on managing these situations. 

  • Abel Tasman Village will continue to follow the guidance as set out by the Department of Health as well as the “Visitors Access Code” and take any reasonable steps to reduce the risk of COVID transmission within the facility. 

  • A process where staff actively declare whether they have been to a known hotspot and are following safety protocols

On their part, we also ask visitors to pro-actively tell staff whether they have been to known hotspots and are following protocols.

Take Care,

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager

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 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
  • 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

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

COVID-19 – the Long Weekend

I am pleased to say that it has been a very calm week this week. In this week’s edition, I would like to provide a quick reminder that this weekend falls on a long weekend and there will be limited staff on duty. We seek your patience and your understanding if the gate may not be answered as quickly as during a regular weekend.

In other news in the Aged Care sector, the Commission has seen a significant increase in complaints over recent months including complaints and concerns related to COVID-19 issues. Key issues raised associated with the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • visitor restrictions, including where they exceed jurisdictional legal directions
  • concerns about preparedness and prevention
  • impact on the quality of care
  • concerns about flu vaccinations
  • concerns about social isolation
  • concerns about possible confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • impact on staff numbers and safety.

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding the restrictions or the access to ATV, please come and have a chat with Harry (Clinical Care Manager) or I during business hours. In our absence, or after hours, the Registered Nurse on Duty will be available to assist you.

If you have not seen the “industry code of visiting residential care home during COVID-19” please check out the item linked here.

To our Homecare clients, I understand that there are times when you may feel be lonely of you may need additional services or equipment that may assist you with your day to day task during this pandemic. Please make sure you reach out to your Homecare coordinators, Elizabett and Nina to discuss your needs and what assistance we can provide for you.

Have a happy Queen’s Birthday weekend!
Sophia Markwell

General Manager

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.