Menora Gardens residential care facility revised visit arrangements
10th July 2020
Dear Residents, Families, and Visitors,
Following recent announcements by the Prime Minister and State Premier relating to restricted visits to residential aged care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, I write to advise you of revised visit arrangements at our Menora Gardens residential care facility.
As you will be aware, international research efforts are yet to discover a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. As a consequence, preventing exposure remains central to protecting ourselves and others from contracting the virus. International and national evidence indicates that older people and those with other serious health conditions or a weakened immune system are more susceptible to contracting and being gravely affected by the virus. Given the level of risk we will continue to adopt an extremely precautionary approach in responding to the virus. Our approach 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.
As we move through the Winter months our staff and residents are experiencing the challenges of both the COVID-19 virus and the usual influenza virus being present simultaneously. Visitors have a key role to play in mitigating our shared risks by fully complying with the measures detailed below.
Daily entry and screening times for visitors are detailed below and will commence on Monday the 13th July 2020. 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
Ground, First and Second Floors, Howes Centre & House 1
10:30 am to 11:30 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 also 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.
The health of staff continues to be closely monitored, new and returning residents will be screened before entry, and signage and other forms of communication are being used to explain the steps being taken to protect the health of our residents.
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, our facilities experiencing an influenza and/or COVID-19 outbreak, an influenza and/or COVID-19 outbreak in the area in which a particular facility is located or an increase in infections in the broader region.
Thank you for your continued patience and co-operation during this pandemic and again, please be assured our primary concern is that of our residents, their families and our staff.
Kevin Davidson MVO, OAM
Chief Executive Officer