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COVID-19 Family Update

Published: 30/04/2020

Published in Latest News

I once again would like to express my gratitude and thank you for your continued support and distancing from your loved one.  We know, feel and understand this a difficult time for everyone, the disruption to the way we normally live our lives cannot be measured and it is affecting everyone in different ways.

As we previously advised and despite ongoing comments by various ministers including the Prime Minister, we will be continuing with our current visiting restrictions until Monday 11 May, when we will review this.  Each day our internal COVID-19 Committee meet to review the situation closely and to plan a way forward.

I know some of you are asking why we are taking such a hardline stance on this issue and the simplest answer I can give you is, it is for no other reason than the safety of your loved one and our staff. This virus has proven that when it takes hold in an environment such as an aged care home it does not discriminate, it spreads quite fast, with the outcome being something none of us wishes to face.

We are not the only provider to be taking this course of action, the majority of the industry are also doing the same and are being backed by industry associations and peak bodies.

Should your loved one require end of life care, please be reassured arrangements have been and are in place for this situation. 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.

Whilst we count our blessings, we also need to remain vigilant, as of 3pm yesterday there had been 60 positive tests for COVID-19 in aged care, the majority of these being in New South Wales, unfortunately 22 of these 60 have died to date. In addition to these there have been 30 positive cases in home care, with two deaths.  Just today three positive cases have been reported in a Melbourne aged care home, two residents and one staff member.  In regards to Lifeview, 49 tests have been conducted across all homes and the Carnegie office, including residents and staff.  I am pleased to announce all results are negative. A total of 544,410 tests have been conducted across Australia, so far, with a positive test rate of 1.2%.  The increased testing by the Victorian Government this week and next will give us a better picture of where virus hot spots maybe in the community.

Last week we surveyed all residents, asking them how they were feeling about this situation, what else we could do for them during this time, and whether they supported, and wished to continue, with the visiting restrictions in place, to keep them safe.  Over 80% of the 215 responses received stated they either strongly agreed or agreed with this decision.  Residents also told us that they felt safe (94%), were well informed (88%), getting the care they need (96%) and were supported to maintain their interests and contacts that are important to them (97%).  From these results we have also looked at adding some new activities and upping the number of other popular activities such as bingo.

We have also received many emails and calls from family members thanking us for taking this stance and supporting our decision – we thank you for your kind feedback.

I would like to re-iterate that we have many ways for you to remain connected to your loved one and I encourage you to explore these with us.

Window of Opportunity visits continue to be very popular however, we need to not only continue to meet government social distancing and gathering on business premises regulations but also ensure each visit is booked in and fair access is available to everyone.

If you wish to undertake a Window of Opportunity visit with your loved one, please remember:

  • All visits are strictly by appointment
  • Visits need to be scheduled 12 hours in advance with the Administration Assistant at each home
  • Visits can be scheduled Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 10am and 5pm, where staffing can be allocated
  • There is a limit of one visit per day for a maximum duration of 30 minutes per visit (subject to availability)
  • A maximum of two guests per visit allowing for social distancing measures.  If social distancing is not being adhered to, unfortunately visits will be cut short.
  • Visits are for your immediate family member only
  • All Window of Opportunity visits will take place at the front door only of each home

The dropping off and collection of goods such as birthday presents, mail, items of surprise such as boxes of chocolates, books and new items of clothing, also needs to be as planned as possible, so as not to take staff away from their primary role of care giving.

  • Items can only be delivered to the homes Monday to Friday, between the hours of 10am to 4pm (items left outside of these times are not guaranteed to make it to the resident in a timely manner or to be safely collected)
  • All items are to be clearly labelled with your loved ones first and last name, it is recommended you also write your name on the label as the sender
  • Items are placed in the designated collection trolley at the main entrance – there is no need to call Administration, items will be cleared regularly throughout the day
  • Perishable items such as cooked food, fruit or dairy products unfortunately cannot be accepted (boxed items such as lollies, chocolates and biscuits are acceptable).  Please be assured residents continue to receive highly nutritional, well-balanced and delicious meals. 

Please continue to you book your phone or video call and/or window chat with the Administration Assistant at your loved one’s home.  They are managing the diary for the home along with the allocation of all iPads, phones and where necessary allocation of staff to assist residents to connect with you, ensuring equitable access for all.  We also ask that you be understanding if a call or connection is a few minutes late, sometimes the resident is otherwise engaged at the booked time and we need to assist with getting them set for the connection.

With all of the above in mind, we know Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday 10 May. We are committed to putting into place, extra resources to assist you to connect over this weekend.  We will update you on the mechanics of these next week.

Sadly this year we will not be able to hold our annual 95+ event in its usual form.  Instead we will be holding smaller High Tea events in each home for those who have made this amazing milestone.  We of course will share the images with you and on our social media channels.

Finally, this week you would have received an email inviting you to register to receive access to your loved ones care information via our care platform Person Centred Software.  We hope this gives you, not only an insight into your loved ones day and care but also easily answers questions you may have from wherever you are.

Please continue to take care, practice social distancing and stay in touch.

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