COVID-19 update #14

I hope everyone is staying safe and well, and the downward trend in COVID-19 related cases continues in Australia. Thank you again for your ongoing assistance in helping us achieve this.

As mentioned in last week’s update, the “Industry Code for visiting residential Aged Care homes during COVID-19” has been released by 13 Aged Care Peak Bodies and consumer advocacy organisations on the 11th May 2020. The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

View / download Industry Code

We have had a high compliance rate by our visitors, staff and approved contractors. Again, thank you all. We will be extending our current screening process to all visitors to include temperature checks from the Registered Nurse on arrival from Monday 18th May 2020. They will meet you at the front gate on arrival to check the following:

  • Temperature reading of all visitors and contractors
  •  Confirmation of flu vaccination certificate
  • Declaration of health on day of visit.

As you may be aware, NSW government will be continuing to ease COVID-19 restrictions in sections of the community from this Friday 15h May. This is then a particularly important time for us all to continue to be vigilant regarding our residents’ health and wellbeing at the Abel Tasman Village. As we mix with more people in the general community, we can in turn put our vulnerable residents at risk.

Please ensure you continue to strictly adhere to all social distancing, hand-washing and sanitization guidelines set by NSW Government.
Stay healthy and well.

Sophia Markwell
General Manager

COVID-19 update #13

I would like to again thank you for all your co-operation in providing us with a copy of your flu vaccine certificate. I apologise for any inconvenience caused in the last week and again thank you going forward .

While the current trends in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are broadly reassuring across Australia, there are still very serious risks for our older Australians. This means we must not relax our current vigilance and become complacent. 

This is particularly true when it comes to the current restrictions relating to visitors to aged care facilities. We are following advice from the Chief Clinical Advisor who recently wrote to providers of residential aged care services recommending the screening for all staff and visitors on entry to the facility. This advice centres on the ongoing safety and wellbeing of our residents at the Abel Tasman Village.

A draft version of the Aged Care Visitor Access code was released by COTA (Council of the Aging) and will by finalised by the 11th May 2020. This document is to ensure a nationally consistent visitation policy to residential aged care homes during the COVID-19 crisis and has been released by aged care peaks bodies and consumer advocacy organisations for consultation with the public.

Myself and Harry Wu (Clinical Manager) have reviewed this document and are happy to confirm that we have been putting measures in place as per the Government’s recommendations since March 2020 to ensure that we find the right balance between protecting our residents from COVID-19 and providing them with vital social connections and support from loved ones.

As a result of the Aged Care Visitor Access Code review, inclusive of the screening process on arrival, we will be checking your temperature prior to you entering the facility. A quick note regarding the flu vaccine requirements: I understand that some people may have a medical condition that may prevent them from receiving a shot. Unfortunately, unless you have Guilla-Barre syndrome or an auto-immune syndrome documented, in addition, we will require a medical certificate from your GP or a specialist to indicate that you have fatal adverse effect if you were to receive the flu vaccine. We appreciate your understanding in helping us keep our residents and staff as safe and health.

And of course Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager.

COVID-19 update # 12

In the past week, there has been some positive news about COVID-19 around the state, e.g. the curve continues to flatten, we’re seeing increased total test numbers with low percentage of confirmed cases and relaxation of some restrictions to start this weekend.

Here are some updates about Abel Tasman Village. First things first, we would like to sincerely thank all of you for the enormous support and patience in helping us deal with COVID-19 throughout this difficult time. We have encouraged staff to download the COVIDSafe App, as this will help ATV in the early detection and prevention of the COVID-19.

As the relaxation of current restrictions starts this weekend, Abel Tasman would like to slowly resume or increase some of the allied health services. In the middle of May, Hearing Australia will visit ATV and give all their clients’ hearing aids a service, both maintain and repair, on site. However, hearing tests will not be conducted during this visit.

Following the success of our April events, such as outdoor concert, ANZAC day memorial, ANZAC biscuit cooking demonstration and Information Cultural exchange (ICE) programme and our residents via ZOOM, we would like to continue keeping our ATV residents active and enjoying their life by hosting more stimulating events in the coming month.

In meeting the Australian legislation, we are pleased to inform that all our staff at Abel Tasman Village have a 100% influenza vaccination rate. We would like to once again kindly remind you that you will be asked by the RN on duty to present your flu shot certificate before you visit your loved ones. In additional to last week’s update COVID-19 #11, you can also send your flu shot certificate to clinical manager phone 0432 828 981

Sophia Markwell,
General Manager

COVID-19 update # 11

The last few weeks have been a huge challenge for everyone, and the aged care sector has been right at the forefront of that challenge. Abel Tasman would like to thank you for your support and patience with helping us deal with COVID-19 so far. While it has been difficult and hasn’t always been perfect, the numbers show that Australia’s aged care sector has done a much better job than many other jurisdictions around the world.

However, we know that recent comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy have created confusion and concern about visitation restrictions in many Residential Aged Care Homes across Australia. I would like to confirm that visiting hours remain from 1pm to 5pm daily, thus avoiding the lunch service and ensuring that we maintain social distancing to prevent unnecessary contact between residents and other visitors.

The Zoom sessions with Katja and Janina are working very well. If you would like to schedule in a session, please email them at activities@abeltasman.com.au. We are on track to re-commence our Activities programme with Information Cultural exchange (ICE) programme and our residents via ZOOM. We had our first successful trial session with one of our residents on Monday 20th April 2020, more details on our Facebook page.

We are continuing to review our processes and provide essential training regarding COVID-19, including the following:

  • maintaining infection control protocols
  • activating their facility’s COVID-19 emergency response plan
  • finalising arrangements for seasonal flu vaccinations
  • regularly communicating with aged care consumers and families.

A friendly reminder that all residential aged care staff and visitors should be vaccinated with the 2020 Flu Vaccine by 1 May 2020 as you will be asked by the RN on duty to present your certificate. As per last week’s update COVID-19 #10, please send your certificate to fluvax@abeltasman.org.au or alternately give a copy to the RN on duty.

Sophia Markwell,
Acting General Manager

COVID-19 update # 10

Following  last week’s update (Advice No.9), I am very pleased to advise that we continue to have a steady calm throughout the Village and with our Home Care clients.  Perhaps our biggest hurdle has been the acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  The team has managed to procure a new delivery of digital thermometers that will be issued to all Home Care staff as well as within the Village.  We had several deliveries of face masks and hand sanitiser which means we are very well placed to deal with any contingency.  We have a supply issue with gloves however we are utilising alternate supply chain sources so I do not anticipate any problems.

Our flu vaccination program is now back on track – all ATV residents have received their vaccinations and we have now secured vaccine for all staff and volunteers.  Anyone who requires assistance please contact Sophia or the RN on duty.  Our home care team will also speak to their clients to provide any assistance or support in obtaining their vaccinations.

During these past weeks,  the shopping service for our home care consumers has been adversely impacted with shortages in essential groceries. In consultation with consumers, service times were changed to 6:30 am, and we had a outstanding outcome with satisfied consumers. Our carers effectively adapted to this change with ease so many thanks to the care team to take this challenge head on.

We will soon require all visitors to have had a recent flu vaccination. You will be asked to produce a certificate when entering the village. Alternatively, you might like to place a certificate on file by emailing a copy to fluvax@abeltasman.org.au

I again want to pass on my thanks to our Activities team who have been working hard with the residents and external providers for a wide range of stimulating activities and contacting families through Zoom…well done.  Next week we will be starting a new initiative with our friends from Information and Cultural Exchange…more of this in next week’s update.  Until then, stay safe and the next scheduled update will be provided next Friday 24 April.  As always, you can email me at gen.mgr@abeltasman.com.au or call during business hours on 9645 3388.

Glenn Kirkman
General Manager

COVID-19 update # 9

Following  Monday’s update (Advice No.8), we are now well into our new routine and the restrictions that residents, families and staff are now working under appears to be working well. There has been a plateauing of COVID-19 numbers resulting in no further changes to the Government imposed restrictions.  This being the case we will now scale back our updates to a weekly update with review either at the end of the month or whenever there is any significant message/change to the situation.

The flu vaccination program is going well for residents, however we have a problem with getting the vaccine for staff due to a national shortage.  It would appear that aged care staff have not been afforded any priority and there is no indication when this will be resolved.  Sophia is continuing to chase up our pharmacy in the hope that we can get this done as a large collective.  In the meantime, I have instructed Home Care staff, as a matter of priority, to seek their vaccination visas via their local doctor/pharmacy.  Can I also strongly urge our home care consumers to do likewise as a matter of urgency. As a demonstration of commitment I was able to have my vaccination this morning…I hope you enjoy the photo!  If we are unable to source the vaccine by next week, I will instruct the ATV staff to similarly get this done via their local GP/pharmacy.

A vote of thanks to our Activities team who have been working hard with the residents and external providers for a wide range of stimulating activities and contacting families through Zoom… well done.

Wishing you all a safe, restful Easter and the next update will be provided next Friday 17 April.  As always, you can email me at gen.mgr@abeltasman.com.au or call during business hours on 9645 3388.
Glenn Kirkman
General Manager

COVID-19 update # 8

Dear Residents, consumers, families, friends and staff

Following last week’s update (Advice No.7), we continue to see a good level of compliance with our control strategies however staff report there was an increase in families wanting to go outside the timings or restrictions.  I need to reinforce that these restrictions have been imposed for the protection of all residents/consumers and it is essential that we follow them to avoid the need to put in place even more controls as sadly we have seen fatalities within aged care facilities. As with the initial advice provided, the Government has mandated that visits are limited to a maximum of two visitors per day for a maximum of two hours and that the visits are to take place in the person’s room or open space.  There are to be no visits done in communal areas.  Effective from tomorrow (Tuesday 07 April 2020) the hours of visits is to be adjusted to the hours of 1pm to 5pm daily thus avoiding the lunch service and ensuring that we maintain social distancing to prevent unnecessary contact between residents and other visitors.

The zoom video contact system has been tested and is now in place.  If you want to arrange for this service, you need to contact the activities staff to set it up and arrange a mutually agreeable time.  Contact details are:
Units 1A to 25 – Janina (mailto:janina@abeltasman.org.au)
Units 101 to 140 – Katja (mailto:katja@abeltasman.org.au)

Please send an email with your contact details to  activities@abeltasman.com.au and in the subject line indicate Zoom Contact for your relative and room number.  Either Katja or Janina will then communicate with you on getting this in place.  I am also pleased to advise that the flu vaccination program for residents has commenced.  We are still waiting on supplies to be provided for staff which we hope to commence prior to Easter.  Please keep following the Government updates on the virus and measures to keep safe. 

For your convenience, the following links may assist you:
Australian Government Department of Health – https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
NSW Health Department – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/covid-19-coronavirus-information

With Easter coming up this weekend, the next update will be provided this coming Thursday 09 April.  Thank you for all your support during this time.  As always, you can email me at gen.mgr@abeltasman.com.au or call during business hours on 9645 3388.

Glenn Kirkman
General Manager