Keeping you safe during COVID-19
The decision to move into a residential care home is never an easy one.
Leaving a beloved home and familiar neighbourhood to move into shared accommodation is a step no one takes lightly, and you may feel like you are losing your independence.
While we are all unsure how long this pandemic will continue, we can confirm that Baptcare has taken a number of measures to minimise the risk of infection for our residents focussed on:
- Your health and wellbeing
- Staying connected
- Our staff
- Our COVID-19 management plan
We are well prepared
Our primary concern during this time is the wellbeing, health and safety of our residents and staff.
In the last few weeks, we have all been challenged with the higher number of active COVID-19 cases in Victoria and managing tighter restrictions on our movement.
It is true that COVID-19 takes a greater toll on older people, and the heartbreaking news around the consequences of outbreaks in residential aged care have reminded us that we must all play our part to minimise risk to our loved ones.
Keeping you well
Maintaining your health and wellbeing is an important part of life at one of our residential aged care homes. All our lifestyle, allied health and spiritual care programs remain in place and are available to all residents.
As part of our management plan in response to COVID-19, we have implemented the following additional measures in accordance with the relevant health authorities’ guidelines:
- We conduct a daily screening and temperature check of all residents, using the Safer Victoria screening tool.
- We have increased cleaning of all common areas in each home.
- We maintain social distancing where possible (1.5m) and encourage everyone to regularly wash their hands.
Who can visit?
Out of an abundance of caution, for all residential aged care homes in Victoria we have suspended all visits from families and friends until 8 November 2020 in line with the Victorian Care Directions (The Directions) No 14.
The latest Directions came into effect at midnight, Sunday 18 October 2020 and will expire at 11.59pm Sunday, 8 November 2020.
- Restrictions are now location dependent and is determined by the location of the residential aged care community you intend to visit.
- Visits from persons under 16 is no longer excluded. All visitors under 16 must comply with restrictions that apply to the location of the residential aged care community they wish to visit.
- All visitors must declare in writing that: they are free of COVID symptoms, they are currently not required to self-isolate or self-quarantine, and they have not been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days. This declaration requirement applies to all visitors to every residential aged care community, regardless of location.
In Tasmania, Baptcare Karingal Community will continue to receive visitors under the current restrictions:
- All visitors must provide evidence of a 2020 influenza vaccination
- All visitors will be screened and will be asked if they have contracted COVID-19 or been in close contact with a positive case or have recently been overseas
- All visitors must be over the age of 16 years old
- All visitors will need to wear a face mask
- All visitors are restricted to a one hour visit and must stay in their loved one’s room or designated visitor areas (and must not gather in common areas).
Please note – we are always sensitive to special circumstances of our residents, families and friends and are particularly sympathetic to those in end-of-life care. In these circumstances, you can contact your Residential Care and Services Manager to discuss visiting options.
Keeping in touch with loved ones is vital at this time. We encourage all residents, their families and friends to be in contact as much as possible:
- Our staff can organise ‘virtual visits’ using various technologies (e.g. Skype or Zoom) to make sure you can see and hear from each other even when you can’t meet face to face. You can also bring in care packages for your loved one. See here for some important tips on care packages.
- Our Spiritual Care team is also available to all residents and their loved ones for emotional support, or just a chat to know someone else is there and wants to listen.
- Our Lifestyle Program has also evolved during this time to ensure residents within each home stay connected with each other – our ‘Together at 2pm’ time means even residents who are in isolation can participate in activities like dancing in their doorway.
Our staff are here to support you
The wellbeing, health and safety of our residents, families and staff is our number one priority. Our staff and managers follow guidelines and directives of the relevant state and federal authorities.
Each Baptcare staff member undergoes a number of training sessions to ensure they are ready and able to care for our residents including:
- Infection control
- Hand hygiene and cough protocol
- Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. goggles, mask, gloves and gown)
We also have implemented a number of measures to minimise cross-contamination within the home:
- All staff are required to provide evidence of an up to date influenza vaccination for 2020.
- All staff are required to wear a face mask at all times.
- Where possible, Baptcare has implemented a ‘single site’ staffing model where each staff member only works at one of our residential aged care homes. In addition, staff generally work in one area or ‘household wing’ of the home (rather than moving through the whole facility).
What happens if a residential aged care home has a positive case for COVID-19?
In the event that a resident, staff member of close contact is tested positive for COVID-19, we would immediately implement our management plan and report the case to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Unit (PHU).
We would continue to take advice from the relevant health authorities and implement the following actions:
- All residents would be isolated to their rooms
- All staff would wear full PPE and be segregated to a ‘zone’ of the home
- All residents and staff (including contractors) would be tested for COVID-19
- All visitor arrangements would be suspended and ‘virtual visits’ would be made available
- Daily screening and temperature checking would continue
- Social distancing (where possible) and hand hygiene practices would continue
- Daily communications from management would be distributed to all residents and their primary contact
- Any staff member (or contractor) who tests positive will self-isolate and will not return to work until they have received clearance from the relevant health authorities.
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.