Further Restricted Access to all Opal care homes 27th March 202027th March 2020 | 2 mins
Given the rapidly rising rate of COVID-19 in Australia, we must all act for the greater good of everyone. That means doing all we can to protect our residents, team, families and all health workers in our communities who are at the front line of our COVID-19 defence. For this reason, we have taken the decision to further restrict the level of access to our care homes until further notice.
We understand that this is an anxious time for many people and we thank everyone for their understanding as we continually strive to make our homes the safest place possible for our residents and team.
As well as focusing on the physical and clinical aspects of care, we are very conscious of the need to find new or different ways to nurture social connections and stimulation for each individual while Restricted Access is in place. We are using technology for activities within our homes and to help relatives stay in touch with their loved ones through phone, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
Advice for residents and relatives during Restricted Access
Restricted Access incorporates the existing measures put in place on 18 March, together with the following measures to help keep our residents and team safe. Effective as of Friday 27 March:
Visitors to our home
Given the increasing amount of community transmission of COVID-19, we have made the decision that no visitors will be allowed to enter our care homes while Restricted Access is in place. The only exceptions are when a resident is receiving end of life care or on the first day of a new resident’s admission. In those cases, certain time frames must be observed and any required PPE worn.
Spatial distancing and activities
Where practicable we will apply spatial distancing principles for residents (one resident per 4 square metres). Communal dining will still be available in the dining room but with only one resident per table. Mealtimes will be extended to enable this. Buffet service has ceased and internal cafes are operating as takeaway only for residents and teams. Wellness Centre programs will be suspended during Restricted Access.
Keeping our home safe for residents
We will continue to maintain essential services during Restricted Access. This includes services required to ensure our home remains safe and operational, for example:
- Medication and food delivery; essential plant, systems, and equipment repairs; fire equipment compliance
- Service providers and suppliers will be instructed to observe spatial distancing while they are in our home and all visits will be facilitated by a member of the care home Leadership Team (including active screening, visitor logs, and other relevant procedures)
Maintaining our residents’ social and family connections
We recognise how vital it is to maintain our residents’ connections and the relationships that are meaningful to them. Our team will continue to focus on finding creative ways to keep our residents engaged and stimulated in ways that best meet their individual needs and preferences.
Other precautions we are taking
- Our residents are checked twice daily for temperature and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Our team members are working in designated areas to reduce the range of individual contacts for our residents.
- No external appointments are possible unless they are of a critical clinical nature.
- We regret that gifts and meal deliveries can no longer be accepted directly at our care homes. We do however encourage families to keep in touch by sending letters and cards through the mail.
We know how difficult it is for our residents and families to be apart from loved ones at this time and appreciate everyone’s understanding that these steps are necessary for the wellbeing of our residents, team and our wider community.
If you would like to arrange communication with a loved one in our care, please contact the team at the care home and they will provide every assistance.
Dept. of Health coronavirus health alerts
Dept. of Health information for older Australians
Dept. of Health coronavirus FAQs
Department of Health coronavirus translated resources
WHO information on cleaning your hands to prevent infection
Dementia Australia information for family and friends of people living with dementia
Looking after your mental health from Beyond Blue
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