News

Visitor arrangement update: Tuesday 23 June 2020

23rd June 2020 | 2 mins

Visits from Family

We understand how important visits from family and friends are to our residents and we welcome the opportunity to enable more flexibility for visitors as the broader community begins to open up. 

At the same time, we recognise that there is still a risk of renewed community transmission of COVID-19. Across Opal, we remain focused on protecting our residents and the team. We continue to monitor federal and state health department advice and are working collaboratively with the sector to ensure the actions we take are carefully considered and risk assessed.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has issued new guidelines for visitors to residential aged care homes. We have adjusted our visitor access arrangements in line with its advice and the Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes during COVID-19.

It is vital that all team and visitors undergo Active Screening on arrival at our care homes, including providing evidence of a current flu vaccination. Maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene is crucial at all times, and all visitors must practice spatial distancing as much as practicable while in our home.

Our visitor arrangements are as follows:

  • Every resident may receive a maximum of two visitors at one time 
  • There are no limits to the number of visits or length of the visit
  • Children 16 years may visit (within the two persons at a time parameter)
  • Social support visits are available, including NDIS and volunteers, within the two-person parameters

Our position on external outings is in accordance with the Commonwealth guidelines:

  • Residents may leave the home for small family gatherings, however, a risk assessment must be undertaken including local epidemiology, number of people attending and the feasibility of spatial distancing
  • External excursions for groups of residents, including bus trips, will not be possible until further notice

We believe maintaining meaningful connections with loved ones is essential. For many families who will visit regularly, we have seen the joy of face-timing in the evening to say goodnight, of Zooming with family for an occasion that would otherwise have been missed, and we will continue to enable these important connections. Likewise, window visits, emails, postcards and letters, and regular update phone calls from our team to families will continue.

We have learned through COVID-times that the situation can and does change quickly, as evidenced in Victoria this week where community restrictions have been reinstated. We must move equally quickly in our care homes in response to any evolving risk. We will stay in close communication with families and friends as things evolve.

Thank you for your continuing understanding and support as we do everything we can to protect all of those we care for from the spread of COVID-19.