COVID-19 update # 6

Dear Residents, consumers, families, friends and staff,

Following our Friday update there are two new changes that are impacting the Village.  The first is a recommendation that anyone over the age of 70 or are health compromised do not leave home unless there are exceptional reasons to do so.  Accordingly, we have met with a number of residents today and advised that we are now requesting residents to follow the government recommendation and not to go outside the front gate. 

This has particular relevance to our home care consumers.  Our coordinators are assisting you with information on these changes and how it might affect your services.  As members in the community the ultimate decision is yours and we will assist you with reflecting any changes withing your current service plan.  We do however strongly urge you to follow the guidelines and if it is necessary to get something from outside the home, consider having the care worker do this or alternatively ensure you have appropriate PPE (face mask, gloves) wash hands or use hand sanitiser regularly and maintain the social distance/restriction on having people around you.

I have received a number of enquiries concerning the issue of lockdown – this is currently not a Government direction and is over to providers to implement their strategies in controlling COVID-19.  At this current time we consider our strategies to be working and appropriate for the control of COVID-19.  In summary, we have strengthened PPE, temperature check all staff and residents each day, have implemented social distancing strategies within the dining room and all gatherings, restricted site access to external contractors and deliveries and reduced the visiting hours and duration of visits for residents.

Each of these controls has some effect.  The management team sat in on a webinar that looked at the learnings to be gained from the BaptistCare incident at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge.  As a response we reviewed our current approaches as well as our outbreak controls, and we are satisfied that these are appropriate at this time.  In the event that there is any change we will of course adjust as required.  It is a significant issue to deny residents social contact and restrict their movements in and around the Village.  If any resident or family has a concern we are able to implement an individual strategy to help satisfy their requirements including self isolation in the room where we will deliver all services including meals.  Please contact the Care Manager (Sophia) or the RN on duty if you want to discuss this further.

The Government has also reduced social contact to a maximum of two people.  We are strongly urging residents to avoid all non-essential contact with others and would seek family support in this regard.  Within the workplace, we are now looking to ‘cohorting’ staff.  In essence this will mean that staff will be allocated specific areas to work in over the foreseeable future to minimise cross-contamination.  We are now looking at all non-essential staff working flexibly from home where possible or reducing their hours at work.  To improve the social connection for our residents, Janina and Katja have set up zoom so that families and friends can have real time chats together…Katja will be sending out a notice on this to families.  We also continue to have allied support within the facility – particularly dedicated physiotherapy (they are only working here) which is essential for those residents requiring assistance with mobility and range of motion.

Finally, I wish to provide an update on our flu vaccination program for 2020.  We have received the vaccine for residents and are working with our doctors to write the prescriptions so that these can be administered.  The registered nurses will be contacting residents or their representatives to provide the authority to give the flu vaccinations.  The Government announced that commencing 01 May 2020 all visitors and staff must have a current flu vaccination (i.e within 12 months).  Relatives and visitors are strongly urged to have their vaccinations before the 01 May deadline.  On the staff side, we have advised staff that this requirement is now mandatory and we will be commencing staff vaccination in the next two weeks.

Thanks again for all the messages of support. If there is anything additional that you would like to bring to our attention, feel free to email me – or call 9645 3388 during normal business hours.

Glenn Kirkman
General Manager