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Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Page last updated: 09/07/2020

Latest Updates

Over the past 48 hours we have seen a significant increase in local community COVID infections in parts of NSW and ACT. It is likely that more infections will follow.

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

  • Fred Ward Gardens (ACT)
  • Bill Mckenzie Gardens (ACT)
  • Moreshead Lyneham (ACT)
  • Roy Wotton Gardens, Eden (NSW)
  • Albert Moore Gardens, Meriumbula (NSW)
  • Hugh Cunningham Gardens, Tura Beach (NSW)
  • John Edmondson VC Gardens, Austral (NSW)

These homes have been selected due to their proximity to new community infections in the past 48 hours.

What are the changes?

  • We will be temporarily postponing all non-essential visits to the home specifically this includes general social visits
  • We will continue to allow regular visitor access, with approval, based on the agreed industry visitor access code which is 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.

Message from the CEO

Residential Care Visitor Access Guidelines

With the number of person-to-person COVID-19 cases in NSW and the ACT continuing to remain low, RSL LifeCare has developed a Four Phase Plan to help us safely transition back to normal levels of resident activities and visitor access.

Our Four Phase Plan is closely aligned to the Public Health Order dated 22nd June 2020,  and assumes that the number of COVID-19 cases in NSW and the ACT will continue to remain low.  If this trend begins to change, we will be forced to reintroduce our stronger restrictions

Please check this page for daily updates on which facilities have satisfied this risk assessment.

Laurie Leigh

CEO, RSL LifeCare

 

 

Find the information you need:

  1. Visitor Access Guidelines
  2. Do all visitors to an aged care facility need to have had a flu shot?
  3. Compassionate Visits
  4. Keeping in Contact
  5. About Coronavirus
  6. Residential Aged Care
  7. Home Care

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?

The Government has 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 will be people with, “a certificate in the approved form, issued by a medical practitioner, certifying that the person has a medical contraindication to the vaccination against influenza”.

People who fall into this category 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

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.  Please contact your local Aged Care Home to discuss these details on a case by case basis.

Keeping in Contact

Even with the reintroduction of visits, we continue to 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.

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 one and half metres from others
  • Get your flu vaccine

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:

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?

Hand washing and keeping a social distance of 1.5 metres from others is your best defence. You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are sick, to protect others from becoming infected.

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.


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.

Aged care homes are one of the safest places for elderly people at this time due to the strict infection prevention and control protocols and procedures we have in place.

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. Even as we cautiously relax our face-to-face visitor restrictions, we can still continue to have additional contact via the phone or video conference.

How to keep in contact

As well as face-to-face visits, 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

Social activities

As we cautiously relax our restrictions we are also slowly reintroducing a range of social activities to ensure the ongoing social engagement for our residents. 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.


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