News

Restricted Access to all Opal care homes is effective 18 March, 2020

18th March 2020 | 1 minute

Jean gardening

Opal is implementing Restricted Access in all of our care homes effective at 5 pm today (local time in all States) for a period of at least two weeks.

While the majority of people who have contracted the virus around the world have recovered, it is our elders who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore we must be hyper-vigilant in our actions to protect all of those we care for against the spread of the virus.

Thank you for helping us to make our care homes the safest place possible for our residents and team. Please be assured that we will manage these restrictions together with each resident and their loved ones with the utmost care and compassion.

No Opal residents or team have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time.

Advice for residents and relatives during Restricted Access

You may be familiar with the Restricted Access environment as it is similar to measures we take when there is a cluster of symptoms or cases of other infectious illnesses in the home.

Effective 5 pm Wednesday 18 March 2020 (local time in all States), the following measures will apply:

Visitors to our home

Visitors will not be allowed to enter our care home while Restricted Access is in place, unless under exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances must be discussed directly with the care home General Manager to determine whether visitation will be possible and if so, to ensure its safe facilitation. 

Keeping our home safe for residents

We will continue to maintain essential services during this period of Restricted Access. This includes services required to ensure our homes remain 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 social distancing while they are in our homes and all visits will be facilitated by a member of our care home Leadership Team (including active screening, visitor logs, and other relevant procedures)

Compassionate care

We recognise that everyone’s circumstances are individual, and some residents and relatives may be concerned at the prospect of a period without regular visits.

Residents with appointments with external health providers will continue to have access to those appointments. These will be managed on an individual basis to ensure the resident’s safety and wellbeing.

Please be assured that specific plans will be developed for residents or families who have particular needs, including residents with different or complex communication needs.

In cases where the need to visit a loved one overrides safety concerns, for example when a resident is receiving end of life care, we will arrange for you to visit safely as long as you are well and haven’t been in direct contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

Please call your care home General Manager directly to discuss any individual circumstances.

Maintaining residents’ social and family connections

We understand how important it is to maintain our residents’ connections and the relationships that are meaningful to them, particularly during a period of restricted access. We already have a variety of purposeful activities in place that our residents engage in our home, including using technology for socialisation. Our team will continue to focus on keeping our residents engaged and stimulated in ways that best meet their individual needs and preferences.

We encourage you to stay in contact with your loved ones and we can organise phone, FaceTime or Skype calls so that you can speak with one another directly. Our team will also provide regular updates for relatives and representatives via phone or email.

An Opal team member from your care home will be in touch with you within the next 24 hours to talk through your communication needs.

Lifestyle activities and outings

Our meaningful life activities are part of the heart of our home and we will ensure that we continue to enable stimulating and engaging activities for our residents. However, regrettably, we have put some activities on hold based on our risk assessment, including:

  • Visits by external groups, including school children and mothers groups
  • Events where community visitors come into the home
  • Visits from external performers, entertainers or other social groups
  • Bus and other external social outings
  • Hairdressing and other salon services delivered by external providers

Other lifestyle activities are being reviewed in line with social distancing considerations. We are focusing on small groups, online, technology-enabled and 1:1 activities, as well as utilising outdoor spaces within the care home as much as possible.

Reviewing our Restricted Access measures

Restricted Access will be in place for a period of at least two weeks from 5pm Wednesday 18 March. After this period we will review the situation, taking into consideration the public health advice available. If it is necessary to extend the Restricted Access period we will advise you when that decision is made.

Other precautions we are taking

In addition to the measures we have shared with you in previous communications, we have implemented additional cleaning of high touch point areas in our home and are encouraging our teams to practice social distancing in the community. We will also shortly commence temperature checking prior to entering our care homes for all team and visitors to our care home.

Thank you for your support as we strive to protect all of those we care for from COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, or need to discuss your individual circumstances, please your care home General Manager directly, or submit your enquiry via the link on this page.

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