The health, safety and wellbeing of all residents and staff is our highest priority, as we work through this pandemic. The COVID Committee meet daily to continually monitor government advice, review local outbreaks, consider the risk to our homes, and take appropriate action as required. With this in mind, we have made a number of important changes to the way we provide care and support for residents, and to ensure we have the agility to make changes as quickly as necessary, as the situation evolves.
Life inside Lifeview homes continues to be as “normal” as possible during this time, with residents free to move about the home, socialise and undertake their daily activities. Our dedicated Social Support teams continue to support all residents with engaging activities, in line with their preferences and interests.
Alternative communication strategies for residents to remain connected to their loved ones have been in place since April and include window visits, video calls (FaceTime, Zoom and Skype) and phone calls. Additional staff have been allocated to assist with these communication channels. If your loved one needs assistance to connect with you, please book an allocated time with Administration at each home. We have invested in and increased the number of electronic devices available to residents as well as our bandwidth to facilitate these additional visits. Please note: there are set hours for staff assistance with these programs, we are trying to ensure equal access for all.
Lifeview has rigorous plans and procedures in place to support our homes and to minimise the risk of COVID‑19. These include:
- A COVID-Safe Plan
- A Residential Outbreak Management Plan
- A robust Emergency Response Plan
- COVID-19 Policy, outlining clear guidelines and implemented preventative measures
- The use of personal protective equipment - staff wear face masks and face shields at all times
- Staff working for a single employer
- Daily temperature and symptom checks, which have been a feature of our infection control plans since February, for all residents, staff, contractors and external visitors i.e. medical and allied health personnel
- Training in infection prevention and control, which is mandatory for our employees
- Strong supply chains for personal protective equipment – items including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns. We regularly monitor stock levels and usage and have supplies available to meet anticipated future requirements
- All employees are offered paid leave, to ensure no employee has to come to work if they have symptoms or have had potential contact with COVID-19
- Employees are required to follow the recommendations and guidelines issued by the government for the reporting of potential exposure to COVID-19, while waiting for a COVID-19 test result, or displaying any COVID-19 symptoms
- Continuing to conduct internal audits and drills with mock-outbreaks across our homes, so that should an outbreak happen, we are as prepared as possible
- Following discharge from hospital, all residents and or staff will be COVID-19 tested and undertake 7-days isolation. Staff will wear full PPE when caring for any resident on their return from hospital
- We continue to use telehealth in the first instance for all medical appointments. Any appointments where residents need to leave the home will need to have prior approval, a risk assessment undertaken and be for URGENT health matters only.
We have a dedicated phone line and email to assist in answering representatives COVID specific queries, and to enable each home to concentrate on the wellbeing of the residents.
Phone: 0427 520 740 Email: COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if one of our homes has a positive case of COVID-19?
Lifeview has a robust Emergency Response Plan, which will be implemented if there is an outbreak in any of our homes. For aged care, an outbreak is one positive case in a resident or staff member. This plan is regularly tested, updated and modified as required and has been reviewed and endorsed, by government authorities, and the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC).
In the event that a resident, staff member or close contact tests positive for COVID-19, we will immediately implement our Emergency Response Plan and report the case to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Public Health Unit (PHU), and Department of Health (DOH).
We will continue to take advice from the relevant health authorities and implement the following:
- Immediate closure of the home to all non-essential services
- All residents will be isolated to their rooms
- All staff will wear full PPE
- Further increased cleaning procedures
- All residents and staff will be tested for COVID-19
- Daily screening and temperature checking will be increased to three times per day for residents and staff twice during their shift
- Twice daily communications from management distributed to all residents and their primary contact
- Any staff member who tests positive will self-isolate and will not return to work until they have received clearance from the relevant health authorities
- Additional staff allocated to the home to ensure resident wellbeing
- The possible transfer of residents to hospital on a case-by-case basis
- Resident Outbreak Wellbeing Care Plan
- Daily mental health checks for residents
Please note – these actions serve as a guideline only as each and every case is assessed depending on the situation and the advice from the relevant health authorities
How will we keep you informed?
We have sought the preference of representatives on frequency of communication in the event there is a positive case of COVID-19 in one of our homes. This particular communication piece is a personal clinical / health update. It is not an overview of actions underway in the home, news in relation to other staff or residents, or any other information, which is of a general nature.
We will communicate with the primary contact for each resident – it will be the responsibility of this primary contact to update other family members. Families can also access the dedicated support phone line and email.
Twice daily communications from management will be distributed to all residents and their primary contact, in relation to actions underway in the home.
Resident representatives have access to their loved one’s care plans and records of daily activities, via the Relatives Gateway.
End of Life Care
Arrangements have been and are in place for end of life care. We have not and will not stop you being with your loved one during this sensitive time. If you are faced with this situation please be assured we will work with you to ensure appropriate access to and care of your loved one.
The Victorian Government has temporarily increased visitor restrictions in all aged care homes because of the serious risk of coronavirus. We understand this will be difficult for residents and families. Thank you for your understanding as we work together to protect everyone at our home.
Families and friends are important to our home and we encourage you to maintain contact via phone and video calls and window visits. Please contact our home if you would like to make a time to speak to your loved one and we will do our best to make this happen.
New or Prospective Residents
Coronavirus has not reduced demand for aged care, and our homes continue to accept new residents. Prospective residents and one support person can quickly tour the home but must avoid contact with our residents and staff. We also offer virtual tours.
Anyone entering the home must wear a mask and face shield at all times and have proof of annual influenza vaccination.
All new residents will be COVID tested on arrival and stay within their room for 7-days.
Visitor Behavioural Expectations
We appreciate this is a challenging time for everyone, and that the limitations on social activities and restrictions on visits to loved ones in aged care homes, as well as the requirement for all visitors to be vaccinated against influenza can be particularly difficult and stressful for some.
As a responsible aged care provider, we continue to remain committed to our strict visitor guidelines and infection control procedures to ensure we provide a safe and secure environment for all residents, families and staff.
The responses we have received from most families and residents have been positive and we thank you for your patience in adhering to our visitor guidelines and screening process. However, if you do not agree with these processes we ask that you do not take out your frustrations on our staff members.
It is never okay to subject our staff to abuse, threats, bullying or harassment, either physically, verbally or in writing. Please remember these valued team members do not make the laws or rules that govern visitor restrictions or the screening questions we have to ask during the COVID pandemic.
We are committed to providing a quality service, and continually improving care and services - your feedback is a very important part of this process. By letting us know about anything you have noticed, good or bad, or making a suggestion that you think may assist us, we can work together to continuously improve service for everyone.
There are a number of ways you can communicate your feedback to us:
- If a problem occurs, please ask to speak to the Residential Manager at the time. Many problems can be sorted out “on the spot”
- Residents can contact the Resident Advocate - Gill Hynes
- The following external agencies are also available to you:
- Elder Rights Advocacy (Older Persons Advocacy Network)
- Phone: 1800 700 600 Email: email@example.com
- The Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission (Commission)
- Phone: 1800 951 822 Website: www.agedcarequality.gov.au
We encourage visitors to our homes to treat our staff respectfully and courteously at all times. We take these obligations extremely seriously and ask all visitors to comply with Lifeview’s Visitor Code of Conduct.
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