COVID-19 update # 4

3 March 2020

Dear Residents, consumers, families, friends and staff 

As you can appreciate the COVID-19 situation is serious and the controls being implemented by the Government are continuing to tighten as the risk to our community continues to rise.  It is now clear that these restrictions will be in place for a significant period of time and this has particular relevance to our residents within the Village and our home care consumers.  Based on the latest advice from the Department of Health we will be further tightening our control measures to prevent COVID-19 affecting residents and consumers.  It is my intention to issue regular updates to you on Monday and Friday each week and at any time should there be any significant changes.  It is essential that we maximise communication for the duration of this crisis.

Commencing 24 March, 2020 the following changes are to be implemented:

  • All visitors including contractors must sign in and out.  It has come to our notice that during the week there has been a good level of compliance with the sign in/out procedure including preventative use of the hand gel stations at the gate, sign in book and throughout the Village however this has fallen away over the weekends.  I must remind everyone that the best form of defence against this virus is prevention.  The use of hand gel in combination of regular handwashing is a central pillar in successfully protecting people.  It is a CONDITION OF ENTRY and any observed failure to comply will result in being asked to leave the facility
  • A reminder that ALL visitors and staff who have returned from overseas or been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days will not be able to visit a residential aged care facility.  Nor will anyone with a fever, symptoms of a respiratory illness or who, from May 01 have not been vaccinated against Influenza.  We are currently awaiting the arrival of the flu vaccine and this will be administered to ALL residents and staff
  • Visits are now to be restricted to a maximum of 2 hours per day and restricted to two visitors each day (including the doctor)
  • In accordance with Department of Health guidelines we are forthwith reducing visiting hours to 12 noon to 1700 pm each day. We have consulted with our regular visitors to alert them to this change however I wish to seek the support from the family representative/s to coordinate visits with your families.  As these conditions have tightened it has placed an extra workload on staff and we need your support to work with us on the implementation of visit timings.  We do not want to be placed in a position of having to turn away family or friends however as can be seen in the general population, where control measures are being ignored it may lead to even stronger measures and I would remind you that the reason for these restrictions is to minimise the exposure of residents to this virus as the consequences are significant to the elderly
  • Children 16 years and under are not permitted to visit except in special circumstances
  • Effective immediately ALL STAFF working in the Village or providing home care support are required to wear face masks
  • All residents will be encouraged to wear face masks and all consumers receiving home care services will be required to wear a face mask for the duration of the service.
  • Commencing Wednesday 25 March, ALL VISITORS will be required to wear a face mask whilst visiting the Village.  These are currently in short supply and whilst we request visitors to provide their own masks we understand this may not be possible so if required, at sign on please indicate to the staff if you require a mask and it will be provided
  • The dining room meal service will be adjusted to incorporate the government stipulated 1.5m social distance rule.  We will be introducing additional tables and allowing residents to dine in their rooms
  • We will be reducing all non-essential external services.  This will include optometrist visits, podiatry, dentist and hairdressing etc.  Where emergency services are required we will arrange for these to be done in consultation with the resident/family
  • We recognise that these restrictions may have a significant impact on residents.  The activities coordinators will be making arrangements with residents and families to facilitate scheduled skype contact calls.  Additionally, the RN’s will be provided with an iPad to facilitate GP/Allied Health consultations.

I understand these changes may be difficult for residents and families.  It is important to work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent it entering the Village.  If there is any restriction that you feel strongly about please contact me to arrange a face to face meeting with myself and the clinical manager (Sophia) so that we can make a suitable plan that can work for all parties.  Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me during normal business hours.  Unless anything dramatic is announced over the next few days, the next update will be this coming Friday 27 March.

Glenn Kirkman
General Manager