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Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Page last updated: 30/03/2020

Latest Updates

RSL LifeCare is extremely serious about monitoring of the Coronavirus situation. We are in regular contact with the Australian Government Department of Health to ensure we have the latest information. We are also committed to taking every precaution to protect the health and safety of our employees and residents.

Message from the CEO

 


Find the information you need:

  1. About Coronavirus
  2. Residential Aged Care
  3. Home Care
  4. Retirement Living

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:

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

As of 5pm Tuesday 24th March, visitors will not be permitted to enter our residential aged care facilities, until further notice.

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.

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.

This means that from 5pm Tuesday 24 March, visitors will not be permitted to enter our residential aged care facilities, until further notice.

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.

Residential Aged Care – COVID-19 Frequently asked questions

When will visitors be allowed into the residential aged care facilities?

It could be some weeks. We understand that this is a difficult time for residents and families, and we will let you know as soon as conditions change. We look forward to returning to normal operations.

Will I be able to visit if my loved one gets ill?

There will be exceptional circumstances such as this which will be considered on a case by case basis, at the facility manager’s discretion.

Will I be able to visit if it’s a special occasion like a birthday?

Unfortunately visits cannot be permitted. The safety of our residents must come first at this time. However, our teams want to ensure we can still celebrate and they can assist in making it a special day, from a distance.

Can I visit if I’m well and wear a mask?

Unfortunately not. At the moment, limiting contact with others is vital in protecting the safety of all our residents and teams.

Will my loved one be able to leave residential aged care to go to the shops or other appointments?

Residents of residential aged care will not be able to have non-essential outings until further notice. However, medical appointments will be considered on a case by case basis, depending on urgency. We appreciate your understanding in these extraordinary times and we look forward to returning to normal operations as soon as possible.

How will meals work in residential aged care while practising social distancing?

Facilities will do their best to ensure there is adequate space between residents at mealtimes. In some residences, this might mean staggered mealtimes or that some meals may be available to be served in rooms.


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.

Home Care – COVID-19 Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I have cold-like symptoms before my scheduled Home Care visit?
Please contact Home Care on 1300 853 146 to alert them. They will be able to instruct you on next steps.

What should I do if I have if I think I may have COVID-19 before my scheduled Home Care visit?
Please contact Home Care on 1300 853 146 to alert them. They will be able to instruct you on next steps.

What should I do if someone in my home is unwell before my scheduled Home Care visit?
Please contact Home Care on 1300 853 146 to alert them.

What should I do if I become unwell after my scheduled Home Care visit?
Please contact Home Care on 1300 853 146 to alert them.


Retirement Living

The Prime Minister has announced new social distancing instructions, including measures to protect senior Australians from COVID-19. In the Prime Minister’s words, these measures are to “save lives”.

The Prime Minister gave the following STRONG advice to Senior Australians:

  • People 70 years of age or older should stay at home and self-isolate as much as possible for their own protection
  • People 60 years of age or older with a chronic illness should stay at home and self-isolate
  • Indigenous people aged 50 years of age or older should stay at home and self-isolate
  • Senior Australians in the above categories should limit contact with others as much as possible when they go outside their home

We urge all of our independent living residents to strictly follow this advice for your safety and wellbeing.

The Prime Minister also gave the following new instructions for ALL Australians:

  • Group gatherings – reduced from ten people to two people. However, people of the same household may go out together
  • Stay home – The Prime Minister has given instruction for everyone to stay at home, except for:
    • shopping for essential supplies
    • medical care or compassionate needs
    • exercise
    • work and education – if you cannot work or learn remotely

Please note the following COVID-19 preventative measures apply to our Retirement Living residents. 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
  • Retirement living residents are discouraged from having non-essential visitors at this time and only have visitors if they are well and not at risk of COVID-19 from recent travel or contact with a confirmed case
  • Visitors are not permitted in communal areas within the Village

Essential/Non-essential services:

RSL LifeCare has the following services available during self-isolation:

  • Medical – We will be arranging home visits for independent living residents in place of visits to our medical centres. Residents can also arrange for a phone consultation through Telehealth.
  • Home maintenance – Essential maintenance will still be available. Please phone. Please note, contractors are screened and sign a health declaration at each visit.
  • Pharmacy requirements
  • Groceries
  • Also, please note, Woolworths has a ‘Priority Assistance’ service for home delivery. You can register at https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/discover/priorityassistance
  • Meal delivery – You can order a food delivery from your RSL LifeCare cafe
  • Bus services – Reduced services will be available for essential travel and social distancing measures will be applied for passengers
  • Village Managers – Please phone the office, rather than visiting in person

Retirement Living – COVID-19 Frequently asked questions

Can I visit my loved one in retirement living?
If you are well and are not at risk of COVID-19 due to travel or contact with a confirmed case, you can visit your loved one. However, we recommend limiting non-essential visits at this time for the safety of our residents. Children are not permitted to visit until further notice.

Will my loved one be able to leave retirement living to go to the shops or other appointments?
Yes, residents of retirement living can go out for essential outings such as groceries or appointments, but we recommend they limit non-essential outings. If going out it is vital to practice good hygiene.

Can I have meals or groceries delivered to my home in retirement living?
Yes, residents can have deliveries made to their home. Please remember to practice social distancing.

How long will the community facilities be closed?
The community facilities will be closed until further notice. Essential services such as the medical centre will remain open.

How long will the café be closed?
It may be some weeks. However, in particular sites the café may be open for takeaway or delivery of meals. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

What is classified as an Essential Service?
“Essential Services” are services required to protect people’s health and safety. These include statutory maintenance (e.g. fire safety services, legionella testing etc.), emergency call services, and urgent repairs for electricity, water supply and plumbing.

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