Meadow Springs RCF – Updated COVID-19 Advice
7th September 2020
Dear Residents, Families, and Visitors,
Following ongoing COVID-19 pandemic events occurring on the East Coast, I write to reinforce previous advice, existing visit arrangements, and provide summary information regarding Acacia Living Group’s (ALG) ongoing infectious disease protocols and preparedness in the unfortunate event of a COVID-19 outbreak at our Meadow Springs Residential Care Facility.
The extremely difficult circumstances being experienced by our colleagues in Victoria and overseas reinforces the serious and uncompromising nature of COVID-19, and the risk to your health and that of our staff should we as a team become complacent with our infectious disease protocols.
While national and international research efforts continue to seek a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, preventing exposure remains fundamental to protecting ourselves and others from contracting the virus.
As a consequence of the well-established risk posed by the virus to the elderly and those with serious health conditions or a weakened immune system, ALG will continue to adopt an extremely precautionary approach in all aspects of our operations. Acting on the advice of the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health, an independent infection control consultant, and our own clinical governance team, ALG has either implemented or strengthened a range of prudent and sensible plans, policies and procedures to safeguard your wellbeing and that of our staff. This includes restricting visitors’ access to residential aged care facilities, and screening visitors and staff on entry to minimise the risk of viral transmission to our residents. All staff are temperature tested, asked specific screening questions, and sign a formal health declaration prior to entering the facility. To ensure staff compliance, random audits are also undertaken. Further, where COVID-19 community transmission occurs, ALG staff working with another residential care facility operator will be obliged to choose one employer to reduce the opportunity for cross contamination.
Recent experience in the northern hemisphere has shown that warmer climatic conditions do not reduce the spread and effects of COVID-19. Visitors continue to play a key role to play in mitigating our exposure by fully complying with the measures detailed below.
Daily entry and screening times for visitors are detailed below. Note: Spouses, close relatives and social supports are not limited in the number of hours they spend with relatives following entry and screening.
Daily Entry and Screening Times
Meadow Springs RCF Administration Office
10:00 am to 11:00 am
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Weather permitting - Patio and garden areas or resident’s room. Not in the lounge or dining areas.
In relation to visits the following Commonwealth and State Government mandated measures remain in place until further notice.
Visitors and staff may not enter residential care facilities, if they:
- Have returned from overseas or interstate in the last 14 days.
- Have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Have been informed that they are a ‘close contact’ of COVID-19.
- Have a fever or any (even mild) symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue).
- Cannot provide staff with documentary evidence of their 2020 influenza vaccination prior to entry.
- (Note: residential aged care providers must seek appropriate evidence of immunisation status from individuals seeking to enter the residential aged care facility. Appropriate evidence may be a statement or record from a health practitioner; or an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app. Evidence of immunisation status must be dated 2020. Under the Commonwealth Government direction, aged care providers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises if they do not meet the influenza vaccination requirements).
Visitors entering our residential care facilities must:
- Use hand sanitiser provided upon entering the facility and take their temperature which must be no more than 37.5 and recorded on the form provided.
- Conduct visits in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific designated area (not a communal space where the risk of viral transmission to residents is greater).
- Ensure residents have no more than two visitors at a time.
- Practise social distancing including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Not visit or attempt to enter our facilities if you are unwell or have not received an influenza vaccination.
In addition, and in accordance with Commonwealth Government advice:
- No group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment, and external excursions are permitted at this time.
- Visits by children aged 16 years or less are now permitted on the basis that they are closely supervised at all times and visitor restrictions detailed above are observed.
- Spouses, close relatives and social supports are not limited in the number of hours they spend with relatives.
- Residents may leave our facilities to attend small family gatherings (residential care providers are obliged to undertake a risk assessment prior to the outing and a screening process following the outing).
It is important to note that:
· A recent negative COVID-19 test does not guarantee that the person is still negative; and
· A person with very mild symptoms, or even no symptoms, can be infected or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.
Despite our continued efforts, it may be necessary for further restrictions to be placed on visitor access in exceptional circumstances, such as by Government direction, a COVID-19 outbreak in our facility, a COVID-19 outbreak in the area in which a particular facility is located, or an increase in community transmission in the broader region.
Again, thank you for your ongoing support and understanding during this dreadful pandemic and please be assured we are making our best endeavours to take every possible course of action to ensure preparedness and to guard against complacency and indifference in relation to the pandemic.
Kevin Davidson MVO, OAM
Chief Executive Officer