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Updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) information - Residential Aged Care

13 September 2021

Dear Family Member,

This update is in response to the evolving situation with COVID-19.

St Vincent’s Care Services has put some changes into place across all of our residential aged care facilities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

These changes reflect the directions of various State Chief Health Officers under their respective public health legislation (the Directions). We always want to ensure the ongoing health and safety of all our residents, staff and the broader St Vincent's community.

We acknowledge that this is a very difficult time for many people and we will continue to support all of our residents and families during this challenging time. There are certain differences between each state, so please refer to your specific state below for directions.
 

 

Industry code for visiting residential aged care homes during COVID-19

The Aged Care Visitors Code has been updated with effect from 6 August 2021.


The revised code:

 

  • has been updated to reflect recent advice requiring aged care workers to receive the vaccine by 17 September 2021;
  • has introduced the term ‘Partners-in-Care’ into the Code (Principle 7) and encourages State and Territory Health Directives to include these types of visitor as ‘essential care visitors’;
  • in response to the Delta outbreak, the revised Code has been re-endorsed by the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee (AHPPC);
  • introduced a table of links to relevant advice and State and Territory Health Directives as at 5 August 2021.

 

Entrance testing

On entry to a St Vincent's Care Services Centre or Hub, you will be asked to complete a Heath Self-declaration Form, and have your temperature taken and other medical measures to determine if you have any influenza-like symptoms that may preclude you from entry. If you’re found to have failed any of the heath self-declarations or have recorded a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees, then you will not be permitted to enter the site. If you refuse to engage with entrance testing, you will not be permitted to enter the site.

 

Pre-booking your visit

A friendly reminder that social distancing regulations still apply at our facilities, therefore we please ask you to book at least 24 hours in advance of your planned visit as there are still limited visitor spots for each section of our facilities. 

You will receive an SMS reminder with your booking details.

The self-serve booking system can be accessed via this link here.


What has not changed

There will still be limits in place regarding the number of people that can be in a shared communal space at the same time and staff will still need to declare when and where else they have worked outside of SVCS. 

Facilities are still required to participate in asymptomatic testing, and we will continue exclude visitors who are awaiting testing.

 

 

 QLD SPECIFIC UPDATES

We’re delighted to let you know that the Premier has announced that Queensland Health and the Chief Medical Officer believe the COVID case threat is largely contained so aged care visitor restrictions currently in place for the City of Logan and all of Brisbane south of the river have been lifted.

 

So, can I visit my loved one?

Yes, you can! While there are now no limits on number of visitors or amount of time for visiting, we do still need to maintain limits on the numbers of people who are on site at any one time to ensure appropriate social distancing.

That’s why you will still need to book your visit via our online booking portal or you can call our Contact Centre on 1800 778 767.

A reminder, you may NOT visit if:

·       you have not had your influenza vaccine,

·       you are feeling unwell,

·       you have been asked to quarantine or a member of your household has been asked to quarantine, or

·       you have been at any exposure sites (hotspots). To keep one another and your loved one safe, please take special note of these as you sign in on the Zipline kiosk as they change regularly.

As we’re all now aware, these things can change quickly, but we’ll keep you up to date should any restrictions be reintroduced. And remember, if you haven’t already, you can get your COVID-19 vaccination. Please book yours here today.

 

 

NSW SPECIFIC UPDATES

The NSW Government and Chief Health Officer have extended the lockdown directive until the end of September, due to ongoing community transmission across the state. They have also added a curfew from 9pm to 5am for those living in Sydney's 12 local government areas of concern.

This means that our aged care homes at Auburn, Bronte, Edgecliff, Haberfield, Heathcote, Yennora and Stella Maris will continue to be in restricted access until at least the end of September.

 

Can I visit?

Unfortunately, visitors are still not permitted at St Vincent’s Care Services sites in NSW.

Exceptions are provided, with visitors allowed for essential care and end-of-life. Please contact the Facility Manager to be granted an exception (as long as they haven’t visited any listed exposure sites), permitted visitors will be required to wear a surgical mask and to stay in residents’ rooms.

Just to confirm, we do not have a case of COVID-19 at any site.

A reminder that during the lockdown, you may only leave your home for:

·       Work that cannot be done from home

·       Food supplies

·       Essential Care for vulnerable people

·       Exercise

·       Vaccinations

and masks must still be worn at all times.

 

How can I keep in touch with my loved one?

As visits are still not permitted, please call our Contact Centre on 1800 778 767 to arrange a virtual visit. We love being able to connect you with your loved ones. 

 

NSW Border Changes

Due to the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic, various state governments continue to change their border restrictions, therefore we strongly encourage you to check with your relevant state authority or call us in advance of any planned interstate travel to visit one of our facilities.

For the latest updates on border changes head to - https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules/border-restrictions

 

 

VIC SPECIFIC UPDATES

Unfortunately, the VIC Government and Chief Health Officer have extended the lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne due to ongoing community transmission across the state. They have also added a curfew from 9pm to 5am.

This means that our aged care homes in Victoria will continue to be in restricted access until at least 11.59pm, Thursday 23rd September.

 

Can I visit?

Unfortunately, visitors are still not permitted at St Vincent’s Care Services sites in Victoria. There are exceptions under the Victorian Government guidelines which include; essential care and end-of-life. Please contact the Facility Manager if you feel that you qualify for a visit in line with the exceptions (as long as they haven’t visited any listed exposure sites), permitted visitors will be required to wear a surgical mask and remain in the residents’ room.

 

How can I contact my family member at the site?

Please call us to arrange a virtual visit on 1800 778 767 – we will happily arrange a Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, telephone chat or group call to keep you in touch with your loved ones.

 

 

Further guidance

Further guidance for families of residents in residential aged care, has been published by the Government and can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-families-and-residents-on-restricted-visits-to-residential-aged-care-facilities

St Vincent's Care Services acknowledges that this is a very difficult time and is conscious of the impact that these Directions have on residents and their loved ones.  These new Directions are legal requirements, made by the Government that we must all follow. More importantly, they are designed to safeguard residents in the care of St Vincent's, which we assure you is our utmost priority.

We request that you respect the new requirements so that we can play our part in ensuring the continued health and safety of our residents, employees and the St Vincent's community.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact the St Vincent’s Care Services COVID-19 support line on 1800 778 767 or svcs.info@svha.org.au.