Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Find out more about RSL LifeCare services. Read more
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Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 22 Sep, 2020

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We have recently seen a significant increase in the number of local community COVID infections in parts of NSW. The NSW Premier has put the state on “high alert” as it is likely that more infections will follow.

RSL LifeCare has conducted an urgent risk assessment based on the current known infections. As a result, we are taking a careful and cautious approach by implementing visitor restrictions to the following homes:

  • Governor Phillip Manor, Penrith (NSW)
  • John Edmondson VC Gardens, Austral (NSW)

These homes have been selected due to their proximity to new community infections.

What are the changes?

  • Based on our daily risk assessments, visitor restrictions will be introduced to Aged Care Homes within close proximity of recent community infections
  • Industry visitor access exemptions are summarised below:

Summary of Visitors Access Code (Visitors allowed to continue as normal)
a. Residents who are dying should be allowed in-room visits from loved ones on a regular basis.

b. Residents who have a clearly established and regular pattern of involvement from visitors contributing to their care and support (this could be daily or a number of times per week and, for example assisting a resident with their meals or with essential behaviour support such as for people living with dementia) must continue to have these visits facilitated.

c. Visits from family, families of choice and friends who travel extensive distances to visit the resident.

d. Residents with a clear mental health issue- Provision of support to maintain the mental wellbeing of the older person, where a serious mental illness is known or emerging and where the maintenance of social and family connection may contribute to relieving social and emotional distress for the resident.

We will consider any and all requests for visitor access even if they fall outside of these criteria. We want to work constructively with residents and families to ensure that we balance resident safety and quality of life.

We appreciate this is a difficult and challenging time for our residents, their families and our staff. We want to do our utmost to minimise risk of infection in the homes, whilst facilitating our residents to have the family support that they need.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the home and we will assist you to reach a suitable outcome.

Should you not be able to reach an acceptable outcome you may escalate your concern directly by emailing customercare@rsllifecare.org.au.

Find the information you need

  • Visitor Access Guidelines

    Visitor Access Guidelines

    The RSL LifeCare visitor guidelines below are aligned with the NSW Public Health Order (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) dated 22 June 2020:

    • All visits will be held in resident’s room.
    • All visits will have a maximum duration of 2 hours.
    • Strict social distancing will be maintained by all visitors and residents.
    • Visitors will be required to provide proof of 2020 influenza vaccination as mandated by NSW Government in the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order (No 2) 2020.
    • All visitors will be required to have their temperature tested prior to entering the facility. Anyone with a temperature above 37.5 degrees will not be allowed entry.
    • All visitors must complete an RSL LifeCare Health Declaration Form prior to entry.
    • The total number of visitors on site will be dependent on the facility size.
    • Visitors must contact the facility and book in their visit prior to their arrival. Time slots will be strictly adhered to and access without a booking will not be allowed.
    • Visitors must enter and leave the site through the main entrance.
    • Hand sanitiser will be provided and is to be used before and after each visit.
    • Visitors can only visit the resident they have booked to see and must not visit any other residents or family members
    • Visiting times will be Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Visitors will not be able to enter outside the designated visiting hours.
  • Do all visitors to an aged care facility need to have had a flu shot?

    Do all visitors to an aged care facility need to have had a flu shot?

    The Government have mandated that no one can enter a residential aged care facility without an up-to-date flu shot. The Health Department make it clear that the only exceptions to this rule are, “in medical practice, the only absolute contraindications to influenza vaccines are:

    • Anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any influenza vaccine,
    • A history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or
    • If a person is receiving cancer immuno-oncology therapies.”

    People who fall into one of these three categories will be requested to wear full Personal Protective Equipment for their visit, which we will happily supply. RSL LifeCare are constantly monitoring the guidance given by the Government, the public health departments and the aged care industry, so that we can continue to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.

  • Compassionate Visits

    Compassionate Visits

    We will continue to support compassionate visits for residents who are palliative, visits from people who have a clearly established pattern of involvement in providing a resident’s care and support, and visitors who have travelled a long distance. These visits will continue to operate under a separate set of guidelines (including two people for two hours per day, in room only, and must comply with screening and vaccination).

  • Keeping in Contact

    Keeping in Contact

    As we progressively start welcoming visitors back into our facilities, we encourage you to take advantage of some of the additional technology (Android tablets) we have put in place to help our residents and their loved ones keep in touch, either over the phone, or through video conferencing. Please feel free to call your local Facility Manager to find out what’s available at your local site and how we can help your loved one with the technology.

  • Residential Aged Care

    Residential Aged Care

    Our number one priority is to look after the health and well-being of our residents and teams. As the COVID-19 situation has progressed we have taken additional measures to protect their safety.

    As we know Australia’s elderly are more vulnerable to COVID-19, at this time we see fit to act with an abundance of caution and tighten restrictions on visitors to our homes.

    Please note that exceptions will be made on a case by case basis, at the regional manager’s discretion for families in situations such as ‘end of life’ care.

    We understand the importance of residents’ interaction with their families and we encourage families to connect with their loved ones on phone and video calls.

    We also have a number of initiatives planned to ensure social engagement can continue through these extraordinary circumstances. Please see the ‘connected community’ section below for more information and ideas on how to stay in touch with your loved one.

    We appreciate the support of the community at this time as we work toward getting back to normal operations.

    Connected Community

    We understand the importance to our residents of interaction with family, friends and the broader community. These are extraordinary times and while we cannot be together face to face, we can still remain connected.

    How to keep in contact

    We encourage families and friends to keep in touch with their loved one by:

    • Phone calls – all residents have access to phones. Please ask our teams if you do not know the phone number to call
    • Sending letters, photos, drawings from the kids – many children are home from school. Letter writing is a great literacy activity and way to update your loved one on family news. Please ensure that good hand hygiene is maintained during the creation and transport of these items
    • Care packages – If you are well and not at risk of COVID-19 from recent travel or contact with a confirmed case, you are welcome to drop off a care package to the reception area of you loved one’s home. A small thought, like a magazine or a bunch of flowers from your garden can go a long way in reminding your loved one you’re thinking of them. Please ensure that good hand hygiene is maintained during the creation and transport of these items

    Social activities

    In the coming days we will be implementing a range of online initiatives to ensure ongoing social engagement for our residents with their families. Please watch this space for more details.

  • Home Care

    Please be assured that Home Care can continue during COVID-19.

    Our teams have completed additional training to ensure the safety of our home care customers and our teams during this time. All staff and contractors must meet specific screening protocol before they can deliver a service.

    In addition, we have implemented a screening protocol for our clients and anyone present in the home before we conduct the Home Care visit.

    Before your visit, please expect a Home Care team member to contact you to ask some questions to ensure it is safe for them to enter your home or determine whether you may need a COVID-19 assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Common signs include: sore throat, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever.

    Do I need to wear a face mask?

    We recommend that you wear a face mask when visitig one of our facilities or villages. If it is mandatory to wear a face mark at the facility, RSL LifeCare will provide a mask for you to wear.

    What should I do if I get cold-like symptoms?

    Phone your GP. Many doctors now have telehealth consultations available so they can speak with you over the phone and advise on next steps.

    What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

    Phone your GP. Many doctors now have telehealth consultations available so they can speak with you over the phone and advise on next steps.

    How long will we need to practise social distancing?

    The Prime Minister anticipates COVID-19 will be present in our communities for at least six months. We are advised to keep a social distance of 1.5 metres from others and gather with groups of no more than two people until further notice.

  • About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Symptoms

    COVID-19 is commonly characterised by (but not limited to):

    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue

    Please contact your GP if you are displaying these symptoms. In addition, any resident with any of the above symptoms must advise their Facility/Village Manager immediately.

    How to stay safe and well

    Safety and wellness must be first and foremost during this time. Here are six ways to take care of yourself:

    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating and after going to the toilet.
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Keep surfaces clean
    • Maintain a ‘social distance’ of about two metres from others
    • Avoid non-essential group gatherings
    • Get your flu vaccine

    The Department of Health has a helpful video on good hygiene here.

    Social distancing

    • All Australians are advised to stay at home except for essential shopping, medical needs
    • Social gatherings must be limited to two people
    • Non-essential services are closed until further notice. This includes RSL LifeCare community centers and facilities including (but not limited to) pools, hairdressers, bowling greens and recreational areas
    • Cafes at RSL LifeCare facilities will be closed for dining in, however some sites may offer takeaway or home delivery
    • Our medical centres will remain open, however please ring ahead to arrange a Telehealth appointment

    Please note:

    During COVID-19, the following applies to anyone on site at RSL LifeCare properties. You are not permitted to enter RSL LifeCare properties if you:

    • Have returned from overseas in the past 14 days
    • Have a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • Have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • Are unwell
    • Are under 18 years of age

    In addition:

    • Social distancing of 1.5 metres (no handshakes or hugs)
    • No group gatherings of more than 10 people
    • No school group visits of any size
    • If you have arrived back to Australia from overseas since midnight Monday 16 March, you must self-isolate for 14 days
    • If you have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days
    • If you are unwell, you must advise village/facility management immediately and self-isolate for 14 days

    Stay Connected

    COVID-19 has presented Australians with an extraordinary challenge that we must take extremely seriously. However, while we cannot be together in person, it is more important than ever to stay connected.

    We urge all our families to make a routine of phone or video calls to check in on each other.

    Useful resources

    There is a lot of information, as well as ‘misinformation’ available about COVID-19. Aside from our own website, we encourage you to refer to reliable resources including:

    If you would like to know more, we recommend the fact sheets below:

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