Dear Family Members, Relatives and Close Friends
I am writing to keep you informed about the decisions St Andrews management are implementing during the pandemic. In particular the rationale for not going into lockdown, why the dementia units only are in lockdown and what exemptions apply.
I am sure you are aware the lethal nature of the pandemic and that this will continue for some months. Management are acutely aware of the potential impact on mental health and well being of many Australians. Resident well being and mental health is a priority during this time. We are also mindful of the impact SARS CoV-2 (commonly known as CoVID-19) has on the elderly. The virus has the highest rate of fatalities among older people and those with comorbidities (eg those with serious health conditions or weakened immune systems).
Management have implemented a number of strategies to reduce the risk of CoVID-19 entering the facility. These are as follows:
1. Implemented all the government recommendations regarding those people not permitted to enter an aged care facility;
a. Person/s who have been in contact with a confirmed case of CoVID-19 in the last 14 days
b. Person/s who have arrived in Australia from a place outside of Australia in the last 14 days
c. Persons who have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
d. Persons who have symptoms of an acute respiratory infection
e. Persons who do not have an up to date vaccination against Influenza (from 1st May 2020)
f. Visitors who are under 18 years of age
g. Persons with the following symptoms (similar to colds and flus):
ii. Sore throat
iii. Shortness of breath
h. Please refer to the information flyer attached to this letter
i. Entry into the facility may also be at the discretion of senior management and clinical supervisors
Please note: Those providing end of life support to a resident will be provided with instructions regarding their entry, PPE etc
2. Implemented the restrictions to visitors when they come to the facility, includes the following:
a. Keeping visits to a short duration eg 15 minutes
b. Visiting hours from 8am to 6pm only unless otherwise arranged with management or the clinical supervisor.
c. Practice hand hygiene
d. Social distancing of 1.5m or more. The risks increase the closer you are to the resident due to droplet dispersion
e. Visits must remain in the resident’s room at all times. However there are some outdoor areas (courtyard) available. Please ask the RN in charge if you would like to go to an outdoor area.
f. Minimal contact, where possible, with building surfaces eg handrails
g. Limiting visits to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time
Compliance is necessary to allow continuance of the current arrangements.
Influenza A Vaccination
From 1st May 2020 all visitors must show proof of vaccination against Influenza A. This is a directive from the Department of Health. Therefore when you come to the facility please have official documentation* that you have been vaccinated against Influenza A and show the person at the front reception desk. If you are able to be vaccinated prior to this date that will provide some extra protection to the residents.
You will be required to provide evidence every time you enter the facility.
*Official Documentation: 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.
Process for Entering and Exiting the Facility
1. Go to the reception testing area via the facilities main entrance.2. You will be questioned about your symptoms and possible contact with a positive CoVID-19 person and have your temperature checked
3. Sign in and then use hand sanitizer at that area.
4. Avoid touching surfaces in the facility
5. Prior to entering the residents room please wash hands with soap at the basin using your elbows to turn on and off the taps.
6. When in the residents room please maintain social distancing and keep the visit to the recommended times.
7. When you exit the room/facility you may use the hand sanitizer and again avoid touching surfaces within the building
By complying with this process will help avoid a lock down of the facility and the potential spread of viruses including Influenza A, CoVID-19, parainfluenza etc
In the event of a resident testing positive for CoVID-19 or other droplet spread infections, the facility will implement the protocols to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes notification to the relevant authorities.
Management are cognoscente and committed to maintaining the well being of residents and also balancing the need to protect residents from the CoVID-19. We have not locked down the whole facility as the screening measures, hand hygiene, room visits only and social distancing have been effective thus far. We are taking every precaution and monitoring the situation daily.
We believe it is important to maintain family visits to the facility for the benefit of the residents. We will continue to operate with the current access as long as it is safe and possible. Therefore, we request that when visiting your family resident please adhere to the infection prevention guidelines and other directives. Doing this will protect one of the most vulnerable people in society and help maintain visitation, which is vital to the residents.
Announcements are now placed on the St Andrews website landing page. Scroll down on the first page and you will find announcements. Website address: www.standrew.com.au